Feel Good

Study: Ignore Your BMI, Look at Body Fat Instead

Body mass index isn’t the best way to gauge health.

BY March 10, 2016


You’ve probably fretted about your BMI at some point. But the number (a ratio of height to weight) is an imperfect tool. And, it may not be telling the whole story of your health.

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined the information of 50,000 middle-aged Canadians between 1999 and 2013 and found that body fat percentage was a greater indicator for near-term death than BMI. The study itself was limited (for example, it didn’t take smoking into consideration). But doctors say it’s another reason to look beyond just weight as an indication of well-being.

In general, a high body fat percentage is defined as above 38 percent in women and 36 percent fat in men. But, an easier way is to measure waist-to-hip ratio. A measurement of 0.9 and higher in men and 0.83 and higher in women is considered trouble. 


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