Waist-to-height ratio a better measure of mortality than BMI?

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A new study done by researchers in Britain suggests that BMI may not actually be the best measure to use when discussing mortality in heavy patients. They suggest that waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) is actually more strongly associated with mortality.

In her previous research, Dr. Margaret Ashwell of Oxford Brookes University who was involved with this study, found that compared to BMI, WHtR was more closely associated with cardiometabolic risk factors, which lead her to question WHtR as a predictor of mortality. Dr. Ashwell and colleagues used BMI data an estimate of overall obesity and WHtR data an estimate of central obesity from patients who had been measured in the 1980s. Twenty years later, they looked at death rates of those patients and found that WHtR was a better predictor of mortality. Researchers were able to calculate how many life years were lost due to higher WHtR measures.

Dr. Ashwell says, The use of WHtR in public health screening, with appropriate action, could help add years to life. She also adds that results of the study support the idea that you should keep your waist circumference to less than half your height.

To read more about BMI not being the best predictor of mortality, read ACSH s publication, Redefining obesity? The experts weigh in on BMI s validity.