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Forget BMI, it’s time to measure up!

November 23, 2012

Body Mass Index or BMI has been used for some years as the indicator for health and used as a screening tool for obesity. The challenge with BMI is that it does not take into consideration many factors such as height, build, muscle tone or distribution of fat around the body. More recently health authorities have changed their tune and have us more focused on waist circumference with 80cm for women and 100cm for men being the upper limit. Again this doesn’t take into consideration differences in height. I recently read about a new concept which in my view makes more sense. Whilst it is not a new idea, the waist to height ratio assessment is coming to prominence as a better predictor of  diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. The recommendation is to keep your waist circumference to less than half of your height.

Here is a quick online calculator you can use which not only tells you your current ratio but also identifies immediately whether you need to take any action. All you need is a measuring tape and a friend. It’s obviously more accurate if you can do the measure up against your bare skin or non-bulky clothing. If you are wearing clothes, find your belly button and put your finger on it. Your friend should measure 5cm above your finger to find the small of your waist. Once you have that spot, friend measures the circumference. The measuring tape should not be loose or tight but firm and snug against your skin. Write that number down. If you don’t already know your height, check that then divide your waist circumference by your height.

I have been measuring myself on a regular basis for some time now and have decided that my waist measurement is a far more accurate measurement of my weight than the scales which can really fluctuate. A group of friends and I decided to measure-up together today. We will be charting our measurements each week to help keep each other on track and be a prompt when we are tempted to indulge in excess refined sugars or alcohol which can quickly add inches to your waistline.

With the festive season on our doorstep what better time to start your own measure-up group and help one another stay focused through a period that is fraught with opportunities to overindulge? You can also think up non-food related activities with your measure-up buddies to go out and have fun together! Tonight my girlfriends are I are heading into Rio Rythmics in West End for an evening of latin dancing. I am so excited because I just love dancing, I’ll let you know next week how we fared!

À bientôt‘….

From → Health

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