The Health Guru

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Will Waist-to-Height Ratio replace BMI?

Posted on | May 12, 2010 | No Comments

Even though measuring a persons Body Mass Index (BMI) is endorsed by the World Health Organisation as an indicator of a persons health risks it’s well known that measuring BMI alone has some serious flaws.  It has been shown that if you are in an overweight BMI category then you increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, Ampicillin Online Heart Disease and certain types of Cancer.  BMI is measured by dividing weight (kg) by height (m2).  This indicator alone doesn’t take into account the individual’s body shape (apple vs pear), gender, fat distribution and most importantly the amount of lean muscle mass versus fat mass.


A new improved tool for health assessment is being proposed – called Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR)Not be to be confused with waist-to-hip ratio.

The WHtR is calculated by dividing waist size by height, and takes gender into account.   Note:  Measurements taken in inches. It is thought to give a more accurate assessment of health since the most dangerous place to carry weight is in the abdomen (visceral fat).  Large amounts of visceral fat and high waist circumference (central obesity) is linked with producing various hormones that can cause diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and altered lipid (blood fat) levels. 

Here is the proposed results chart:


Ratio less than 35: Abnormally Slim to Underweight 

Ratio 35 to 42: Extremely Slim 

Ratio 42 to 46: Healthy 

Ratio 46 to 49: Healthy

Ratio 49 to 54: Overweight 

Ratio 54 to 58: Seriously Overweight 

Ratio over 58: Highly Obese


Ratio less than 35: Abnormally Slim to Underweight 

Ratio 35 to 43: Extremely slim 

Ratio 43 to 46: Healthy 

Ratio 46 to 53: Healthy, Normal Weight 

Ratio 53 to 58: Overweight 

Ratio 58 to 63: Extremely Overweight/Obese 

Ratio over 63: Highly Obese

As an example:  A male with a 32 inch waist who is 5’10″ (70 inches) would divide 32 by 70, to get a WHtR of 45.7 %.  This would put him in the healthy range.

Ultimately always remember – just because you’re skinny – it doesn’t mean you’re healthy.  Always ensure you have Ideal Weight – which means you have normal body shape, composition and function.

This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism.  It found that WHtR was a stronger predictor of cardiovascular risk and mortality than compared to BMI. The results of this study encourage WHtR as an improved measure to replace the out-dated BMI.

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