BMI, Waist-Hip Ratio or Waist Circumference Measurements – Which One?

BMI, Waist-Hip Ratio or Waist Circumference Measurements – Which One?

I recently did my annual Discovery Vitality biokinetist fitness check-up and it got me thinking. In the fitness check there are three measurements used to assess your potential health status, Body Mass Index (BMI)Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR) and Waist Circumference.

I wanted to know which one was better at predicting potential for metabolic syndrome, which is what the measurements will help indicate the risk of. So this is some of the information that I found on today on BMI, Waist-Hip Ratio and Waist Circumference.

Body Mass Index

Your body mass index is a number that is calculated by:

Weight (kg) ÷ by the Square of the Height (cm)

According to BMI measurements healthy people should be below a BMI of 25. To calculate your BMI measurment you can use the online BMI calculator or they have a BMI iphone app as well.

Waist-Hip Ratio

For your waist to hip ratio you will measure your waist and around your hips with a tape measure. Try this online WHR calculator and how to take the measurements from Nestle.

Men want to be less than 0.95 and women below 0.80

Waist Circumference

To measure your waist circumference you can use the same waist tape measurement you used above for the waist-hip ratio.

For men you want to be below 90cm and women 80 cm

So Which One is Best?

I personally feel BMI measurements are limited and wanted to see if it was true. Chan et al. studied men for dangerous fat deposit testing BMI, waist-hip ratio and waist circumference measurements according to MRI scans of the fat.

They found for men that waist circumference may be the better indicator of increasing risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes (metabolic syndrome). This is because fat deposited around the organs and in the back area seem to show increased risk for these health conditions.

All three do add value so that is why they are all done with the fitness check I did.

So how are your measurements looking? You can try the “Just Start Walking” health campaign for World Spine Day on October 16 to get started towards better health risk measurements.

  1. Chan DC, Watts GF, Barrett PH, Burke V. Waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index as predictors of adipose tissue compartments in men. QJM. 2003 Jun;96(6):441-7.