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Waist circumference verses BMI for assessing cardiometabolic risk.

Blog Forums Nutrition Waist circumference verses BMI for assessing cardiometabolic risk.

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    I found this quite interesting as a person who qualifies as obese despite reasonably good body composition. Using the waist circumference cut-points in this paper, I find that my waist measurement is 10cm lower than the cut-off set for an obese person, putting me in a “metabolically normal, obese” category. Based on my BP, cholesterol, TGs and glucose tolerance results, this is spot on.

    It also appears to be a better tool for identifying those at normal weights according to BMI who are still at risk, what they call “metabolically obese, lean” people.

    Matt Stone

    Absolutely, yet none of this takes into account how each individual got the way they are. It also suggests the fat itself causes problems, which I find unlikely. It also suggests that anything you do to lower your waist measurement is going to lower your risk, which is also not true. Or that doing something that increases your waist circumference will put you at a higher risk. Also completely false. I’ve had lots of people overcome major health problems while simultaneously increasing their waist circumference.

    If there is a correlation it is probably that those with higher circulating stress hormones (and lower youth-associated hormones that oppose those stress hormones), are likely to have more visceral fat and a larger waist – making the fat there a potential indicator but not the cause at all.

    Okay I’m done. Thanks for participating Redm. You’ve shared some great thoughts all over the forum so far.

    Yay for lean obese people!


    Since my day job sees me looking at people’s insides on a regular basis, I can attest to the apple-shaped person having a lot more visceral fat. It’s quite alarming to see just how much there is sometimes. The chubby person who still has a waist – not so much.

    I agree that fat is not always a health risk, I just need to look at my own arse to realise that. It reminds me of an interview I saw on our ABC with an exercise researcher and he has found that independent of BMI, waist circumference and hip-to-waist ratios, physical activity seems to be the key to decreasing mortality from all causes (well, except maybe accidents). Here’s the link if you’re interested.

    Oh, and no worries on my contributions. It’s nice to have somewhere to hang out that doesn’t have an agenda. :)


    Frank Forencich has written about that, among others: fitness is better than fatness as a predictor of health and longevity.

    I often come back to this idea that leanness is great when it is a consequence of health, rather than as the arbiter of health. Focusing single-mindedly on something like BMI or body fat percentage or scale weight is a mistake because all of those indicators can be juked in the short term by unhealthy interventions that undermine long term well being.

    Focusing on better metrics of health, like the metabolic scorecard (good energy, good libido, good circulation, good moods, vitality, etc.) will probably in the long term result in improved body composition, but even if not, will still result in enhanced quality of life.


    Also, for those with diastasis recti, waist circumference doesn’t seem like it would be valid for many who have abdominal muscle separation as a indicator of overall health.

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