For individuals struggling with overweight and obesity, focusing on body mass index (BMI) or the number of the scale may be the wrong health indicators.
An emerging body of literature suggests that an older measurement, the waist-to-hip ratio may be more valuable when assessing the impact of weight on health.
A new study published in the journal Obesity found that participants with a high waste-to-hip ratio had a higher risk of heart attack.
People with a high waist-to-hip ratio are often described as being “apple” shaped. Apple shaped individuals hold fat around their important vital organs. This type of fat leeches into the bloodstream easily and causes a negative effect on cholesterol and other blood fats.
The World Health Organization states that a healthy waist-to-hip ratio is less than 0.9 for men and less than 0.85 for women. It is important to note that there are no particular exercises you can do to reduce fat in one particular area of your body. “Spot reducing” does not work; rather, cardiovascular and strength building exercises can help convert fat to muscle and lower overall body fatness. For tips on calculating your own waist-to-hip ratio, click here.