Coming to Canada from Jamaica and going for my first annual check-up (meaning my wife got me there after 5 years of “asking”) I realised that the charts being used to determine my health were seriously flawed or skewed or I was 100 pounds overweight, or 5 inches too short for my weight. Granted my competition days were behind me, but the doctor didn’t factor in the density of my musculature, which even before bodybuilding/weightlifting I was ‘solid’ as a rock. My 12 year old daughter has inherited this from me, seemingly about age 6, and her assessment a couple of years ago suggested that my child who has not one ounce of fat on her was 50% overweight! Aaah, how many people are basing their ‘fatness’ on a chart? And then adjusting your eating to abnormally low levels to “fit in”. There is credence for these averages, but remember, that’s what they are.
British researchers claim that everyone should aim to keep their waist measurement less than half of their height. Their study concludes that this simple ratio is a better predictor of heart disease and diabetes risk than BMI (body mass index)– the most commonly used measure of obesity.
It seems superior to BMI as it better takes height differences and ethnic groups into account. BMI also fails to recognize muscle mass and the way that fat is distributed throughout the body. A muscular individual’s BMI might incorrectly conclude obesity. As well, abdominal fat affects the heart, kidneys and liver more negatively than does fat around the hips and buttocks.
So grab a tape measure and without sucking in your gut, see what the tale of the tape is!
NOTE: Health Canada currently uses both BMI and weight circumference (WC) “to assess the risk of developing health problems associated with overweight or underweight.” Men with a WC greater than 40 inches and women with a WC greater than 35 inches are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems. Height is not currently part of the equation.