If you’re still using the BMI — body mass index — to determine if you’re dangerously overweight, you might as well be listening to music on an 8-track tape player or watching movies on an old VHS recorder.
That’s because the latest research shows that once-vaunted BMI is as outmoded as those old audio-video technologies and that other methods are far better at obesity-related risks for heart attack or other health problems.
A new study, published last month in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that one newer type of obesity measurement — called a waist-to-hip ratio test — is a far better way to calculate excessive body fat than the BMI.
To reach their conclusions, British researchers tracked 265,988 women and 213,622 men and found individuals — particularly women — with a bigger waist-to-hip ratio face greater risks of experiencing a heart attack than those who don’t.
Lead researcher Sanne Peters, of the George Institute for Global Health and the University of Oxford in the U.K., explained that waist-to-hip ratio tests are a better measure of how and where fat tissue is distributed in the body than BMI.
“Waist‐to‐hip ratio was more strongly associated with the risk of [heart attack] than body mass index in both sexes, especially in women,” reported Peters and his colleagues.
The British study is only the latest research to question the value of BMI tests. University of California-Santa Barbara scientists also recently found that an elevated BMI isn’t the best way to determine if you’re overweight, obese, or unhealthy.