Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hip-to-Waist Ratio

We've all heard of BMI - body mass index. It is a height to weight ratio. Click Here to calculate your BMI.  It is widely used in body composition tests, and by doctors. It is a strong predictor for risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
The problem with BMI is it does not take into consideration fat vs muscle, or where your body fat is located.
That is where the hip-to-waist ratio comes in.
To measure your hip-to-waist ration:
measure around the smallest part of your waist - usually near your belly button.
measure around the widest part of your hips and buttocks.
divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement and you've got your hip-to-waist ratio
According to Health Canada, a ratio less than 0.8 for women, and less than 1.0 for men is associated with lower heath risk.
This measurement is an even stronger predictor for increased health risks than BMI. This is because it gives an indication of where you store your body fat.
We've all heard terms apple shaped, and pear shaped.
Well bad news if you are apple shaped and carry most of your weight around your stomach, and less around your waist. This means that there is more fat surrounding all your internal organs, including your heart. This increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

So find out your number for both these measurements, BMI and Hip-to-waist ratio. Write them down and talk to your Doctor about the implications. If either of your numbers are higher than recommended by Health Canada - talk to your doctor about an exercise regime and some nutritional advice that will help you become healthier.

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