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Tape measure better than BMI

Pick up a tape measure and measure your waist circumference, instead of your BMI to assess cardiovascular risk, an Australian study has shown.

Video: How to measure your waist

The waist measurement study

Researchers from the University of Western Australia studied 148 children aged six to 13 years old. They included 70 healthy weight children, 50 overweight children and 28 obese children.

All children had a medical assessment which included; waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and glucose and total homocysteine levels.

The results

The researchers found that waist circumference was the only significant predictor of abnormal lipid levels, hypertension and insulin resistance.

They also found that some children of seemingly normal weight had large waist measurements and also had abnormal cholesterol levels and, in some cases, high blood pressure.

Researchers comments

The researchers wrote in conclusion, “Waist circumference is a better indicator than BMI of cardiovascular risk in Australian primary school-aged children.”

“Even in young children, measurement of waist circumference represents a simple, non-invasive screening tool to identify children with an increased cardiovascular risk profile.”

The study was published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

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