You’re already aware, and we’ve already reported, that the Body Mass Index (BMI) is pretty much useless at indicating health.
Now, researchers from the Cass Business School in London claim they’ve found a simpler, and significantly more effective, formula to measure obesity and mortality. It only requires a tape measure and some primary school arithmetic.
Measure your waist just above the hip (without sucking in). This number should be less than half your height.
As the Daily Mail reports, researchers arrived at the formula by analyzing statistics for 300,000 adults. They found that every inch of flab over the 50% mark indicated lower life expectancy. Men with waistlines that are 80% of their heights, for example, can expect to die 20 years sooner than those with the healthy 50% ratio.
From the Daily Mail:
“Dr Margaret Ashwell [the study's lead author] told the Sunday Times it should be used as a simple health check that anyone can do at home. She added that waist circumference is important because it shows the amount of central fat in the body – which is linked to high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.”
Dr. Ashwell continues by advocating for less reliance on the BMI. That’s because often a muscular guy in perfect health can register as overweight or even obese on the BMI scale.
But she's helped prove with this new home health measurement that the belly never lies.