According to a recent study the circumference of your waist correlates more closely with several known risk factors for heart disease than does your body mass index (BMI) -- the measure of weight in relation to height. Researchers found that waist circumference was more strongly tied to cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels than was BMI.
Among men, the circumferences that were equivalent in terms of cardiovascular risk to being overweight or obese were highest for whites, lowest for blacks, and intermediate for Mexican Americans. By contrast, the waist measurement cutoffs among women varied little by ethnicity.
Combining the data from the three ethnic groups, waist measurements of 89 and 101 centimeters (35 and 40 inches) in men conferred a cardiovascular risk comparable to BMIs of 25 (overweight) and 30 (obese). The waistlines with the corresponding risks for women were 83 and 94 cm (about 33 and 37 ins).
These research findings suggest that waist circumference may be a more accurate indicator of risk for cardiovascular disease than BMI.
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