The need to measure waist circumference in the clinic stems from BMI limitations. Lily Bird / Getty Images
An expert panel of the American Heart Association advocates measuring patients’ waist circumference to measure heart disease risk.
The need to measure waist circumference in the clinic stems from the limitations of body mass index (BMI).
BMI does not indicate where fat is located, which can affect a person’s health risks.
Tracking changes in your weight appears to be a good way to track progress when trying to reduce your risk of obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
But while it’s easy to stand on a bathroom scale every day, it may not paint the best picture of the health risks posed by excess fat, especially the weight around the belly.
Instead, one group of experts recommends measuring your waist circumference with your body mass index (BMI), which is a combination of height and weight, as a way to identify people at risk of heart disease. Is.
Recent data highlight abdominal obesity defined by waist circumference as an indicator of cardiovascular disease risk independent of BMI,” they wrote in a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association.
The authors also urged physicians to measure patients’ waist circumferences regularly, which may be particularly useful for patients trying to lose weight.
“BMI and [waist circumference] should be measured not only for the initial assessment of overweight and obesity, but also as a guide to the effectiveness of weight loss treatments,” the authors wrote.
BMI usage limits
Some clinical guidelines already require clinicians to measure BMI as well as waist circumference to identify patients who are overweight or obese.
But obesity researcher Robert Ross of Kingston University in Ontario, Canada, says there is more to be done to measure waist circumference regularly, like other vital signs.
We measure the pressure on all patients,” he said. “Measuring waist circumference with blood pressure isn’t difficult, so why not take two minutes and measure your waist?”
The need to measure waist circumference in the clinic stems from the limitations of BMI.
For example, lifters with very low body fat are sometimes classified as overweight or obese when using their BMI because the amount of muscle mass is greater relative to their height.
For other groups, BMI gives a relatively clear picture of total body fat, but does not show where fat is located, which can affect a person’s health risk.
People who pack a lot of weight around their belly in the shape of an apple have an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and premature death.
These health risks are less for individuals such as pears, who carry more weight around their hips and thighs.
Postmenopausal women tend to store excess fat or excess weight in the lower body, which is more moderate in terms of health risks,” Ross said.
Using BMI and waist circumference helps doctors differentiate between these two body measurements.
Furthermore, the use of BMI alone cannot predict health risk in the elderly.
People lose muscle with age, but they can also gain belly fat. Therefore, even if their overall weight and BMI remain the same, they may tend toward body size associated with higher health risks.
Waist circumference measurement will affect changes in fat distribution.
Waist circumference reaps health benefits
Several studies have examined the relationship between waist circumference and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Ross and his colleagues recently addressed many of these questions in a paper published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology.
One such study found a strong association between waist circumference and the risk of premature death, regardless of BMI.
“For each BMI unit, the higher the waist circumference, the higher the risk of death,” said Ross, who was not involved in the study.
This was true even when the researchers looked at factors such as people’s smoking status, alcohol consumption and physical activity.
In addition to assessing a person’s health risks, waist circumference can be used to track a person’s progress as they begin to exercise regularly or improve their diet, as just a measure of weight. Measure. Nothing can be remembered.
We’ll hear constantly from participants in our randomized trials. You know, bathroom scales don’t work, but my dress fits better and my pants fit better,” Ross said.
Not only is this change in waist size a good indicator of better health, but it can also help people stay motivated.
Instead of making people feel that they have failed to fight obesity, they are empowered,” Ross said. “Even if the bathroom scale doesn’t collapse or work as well as they expected, these other measures keep getting better.”