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Continued: Waist circumference is competing with BMI for health risk measure, expert says

  • Article by: HARRY JACKSON JR. ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
  • Last update: June 19, 2013 - 2:06 PM

The BMI was developed in about 1850 in Belgium by researchers seeking a way to categorize degrees of weight in people. In the 1990s it became a popular tool for doctors and insurance companies to gauge health risks. However, the BMI has shortcomings.

It was found to be useless to the point of humorous for athletes whose weight is due to muscle mass rather than body fat. The most commonly used example is that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s BMI was 30.8 during his peak years, which would categorize him as obese.

In addition, for African-Americans and young people the BMI is at best iffy because of ethnic and age differences in muscle mass and other factors.

Waistline circumference has long been a measure of metabolic syndrome.

In addition, Morales said, the weight-to-height ratio is consistent for all groups regardless of fitness, ethnicity, gender or age.

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