About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Body Composition: BMI vs. Waist Size

Along with cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, an evaluation of body composition is one of the most common components of corporate health fairs. It's an easy test to perform, and it gives employees valuable information about an important risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

We've often used Body Mass Index (BMI)--a ratio of height and weight--to determine whether a person's weight is healthy. But a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition warns that the index may not be accurate for all ethnicities. (In addition, we advise employees who are especially muscular or athletic that the scale may not be accurate for them.)

It appears that waist circumference is one of the most effective indicators for heart disease. When compared to other measurements (BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist-to-height ratio), waist size was a consistent predictor of heart disease, even if the individual was of normal weight. Across the board, a four-inch increase in waist size suggested a 15 percent increase in risk for heart disease.

To ensure that your employees have all the most up-to-date health information, it's important to discuss screening options with your wellness partner. And if you have questions, just drop us a note. We'd be glad to help.

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