Keep a close eye on your waist-to-height ratio! According to experts, you should try to keep your waist less than half the length of your height. If you don’t, expect to dramatically shorten your lifespan. Researchers noted that keeping your waist circumference to less than half of your height can help prevent the onset of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and add years to your life.
Body Mass Index (BMI) has been used for years to predict life expectancy, overall health and risk of disease. New research is saying that waist-to-height ratio is a simpler and a more predictable measure.
Researchers from Oxford Brookes University compared data on patients whose BMI and waist-to-height ratio were measured in the 1980’s. Twenty years later, waist-to-height ratio was more closely linked to death rates than BMI, suggesting that waist-to-height ratio can be a great tool in identifying health risks.
For example, a 6 ft man should have a waistline smaller than 36 inches (91 cm). Or a 5 ft 4 in woman should have a waistline smaller than 32 in (81 cm). People that had large waist-to-height ratios, or whose waistline measured 80% of their height, lived 17 years fewer than average.
Dr. Margaret Ashwell presented her findings at the European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool and noted that measuring someone’s waistline is extremely important because it accounts for levels of central fat which accumulate around the organs and is linked to many health conditions, including stroke and heart disease. She said: “If you are measuring waist-to-height ratio you are getting a much earlier prediction that something is going wrong, and then you can do something about it.” They have also found that this works well with children too!
Only what gets measured can be improved! So, make sure to measure your waist-to-height ratio.
Dr. Travis Illian received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in Human Performance. He is certified nationally as a strength and conditioning coach and has published several scientific studies on Greens+ Products.
Ashwell M, Gunn P, Gibson S: Waist-to-height ratio is a better screening tool than waist circumference and BMI for adult cardiometabolic risk factors: systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev 2012;13:275-286.