BMI Testing

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Most of us set weight loss goals at one time or another, whether we're trying to get in shape for swimsuit season or a class reunion.

And we usually get fixated by a specific number on the scale as a marker of how well we're doing.

So, before you throw out the bathroom scale, we should remind you obesity raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes... Even death.

But some researchers now say tape may measure obesity better.

A 35 year old woman, measuring five feet four inches can weigh anywhere between 122 and 157 pounds... And be considered within her weight range... That's a 35 pound difference.

This comparison of height to weight is based on the b-m-i... Or body mass index.

D-1 Athletic Director Jason Elkin says, "Well, I mean obviously, a pound is a pound, but because fat takes up more room in someone's body, muscle is a little more dense -- your metabolism gets higher, you're able to burn quicker."

Now, some researchers say there's a better, more informative way to figure out if you're overweight... The waist to hip ratio... And all it requires is a measuring tape.

They say the best way to predict obesity-related diseases is a measurement that divides the circumference of your waist by your hips.

If you're a woman, that ratio should come out to no more than point-eight.

For men, a healthy ratio is point-95.

It all comes down to this... If your stomach is wider than your hips... You should start worrying about your heart.

D-1 athletic director Jason Elkin says that's because abdominal fat is the most dangerous in our bodies.

"With the higher percentage of abdominal fat is where the high blood pressure will come into effect, or high bad cholesterol can be shown, also -- through that higher percentage of body fat."

Researchers say the waist to hip measurement is more likely to catch people at risk for fat-related diseases who might otherwise think they're at a healthy weight, based on b-m-i.

Even proponents of b-m-i admit it can be way off.

For example, it can give a skewed result for body builders who come out with a high number, because muscle weighs more than fat... Or the elderly who have low scores, because they have so much less muscle.


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