To see into the future of your health, look at your waist. Some research indicates that waist circumference can predict possible health risks better than your BMI (body mass index.) The reason: Abdominal fat is linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and a change in BMI may not accurately reflect an increase or decrease in fat concentrated around the waist.
Karen Barnett Sparks, RNC, Baptist Health Louisville weight-loss program coordinator, said that while BMI is still used to qualify a patient for weight-loss surgery, “I know some healthcare professionals feel that the waist measurement can be a better indicator of risk for other diseases.” Sparks said a waist measurement test is often offered at Baptist Health’s health fairs.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, for women, a waist circumference of more than 35 inches indicates an increased risk; for men, this number is 40 inches.
High risk? It’s time to move that body. If you have trouble getting to the gym on a regular basis, Sparks said to try to fit short bouts of exercise into your day, even just 10 minutes at a time. “If nothing else, getting up and walking during every commercial break of the hour program you’re watching can give you 25 minutes or so of exercise.” If you’re unable to walk, try strength training exercises like curls or deadlifts.