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Watch your waist, not your BMI, as you get older
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If you're getting older, stop fretting about the body-mass index (BMI) measure for monitoring your weight

If you're getting older, stop fretting about the body-mass index (BMI) measure for monitoring your weight. There's a far simpler way of discovering if your weight is posing a health risk, scientists have discovered.

If you're 70 or older and you're a male, keep an eye on your waist measurement and, if you're female, it's the waist-hip ratio that will give you a good indication of your health and longevity.

Researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) studied a group of active people aged between 70 and 79 years, and found that the men just had to keep an eye on their waist measurement. As long as it measured less than their hips, they were probably in good health.

For women, the calculation was a little more complicated. Each 0.1 increase in the waist-hip ratio translated into a 28 per cent greater risk of dying; put another way, if the hip size is 40 inches, an increase in waist size from 32 to 36 inches was equivalent to the 0.1 increase in ratio.

(Source: Annals of Epidemiology, 2009; doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2009.05.003).


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