The body mass index (or BMI) is a popular measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height that can be tracked to the 1830s. Your doctor has probably shown you a colourful chart of your BMI after hopping off the scale during a visit.
However, despite its popularity, the BMI is understood to be a relatively inaccurate measure of fitness. Fortunately, there are alternatives that more accurately measure healthy and obesity. Read on to learn about three of them.
Three tests that are more reliable than the BMI
#1: Waist measurements
Simply using a tape to measure your waist size can provide a clue as to whether or not you need to drop kilos. Generally, a waist size over 90 cm in women and 100 cm in men indicates that weight loss
is warranted, with the exception of only very muscular individuals.
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#2: Waist-to-hip ratio
The waist-to-hip ratio tests how much excess weight you’re carrying, which can indicate your susceptibility to health problems including high blood pressure
, type 2 diabetes
and heart disease
. Use a tape measure to measure the size of your waist line and the widest part of your hips and then divide the circumference of your waist by your hip measurement. Women with a waist-to-hip ratio above 0.85 and men over 0.90 are considered obese, according to the World Health Organization.
#3: Body fat content tests
Instruments such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanners are becoming more widely available at gyms and clients. They provide an extremely accurate measurement of lean mass and body fat
distribution, and also show important information about your bone health.
Health experts say that measurements of other vital signs are also more accurately than the BMI. These include blood tests to check for blood glucose, cholesterol
levels and hypertension, measures of your pulse and heart rate, and screenings for hormone levels, cardiovascular fitness and heart function.
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