The waist to hip ratio or WHI doesn’t seem to be any better of a predictor than the BMI because neither one takes into lean body mass. How good of a predictor can this measurement actually be when it only takes into account fat in one area of the body, not the overall body fat percentage?
The WHR ratio was designed in or around 1993 as a replacement for an indication of health for the BMI. Many health professionals including myself don’t find the BMI or the WHR to be useful as a sole indicator of health.
While it can be useful in some aspects, body composition is much more accurate and a better determination of overall health as you have pointed out.
In more recent years, the WHR has taken fire for being not such a good indicator of overall health either!
What the WHR does measure in some cases is attractiveness and intelligence. Don’t ask me but people have taken the WHR measurements and linked them with female attractiveness and even as some type of a general measurement of intelligence.
As you can see, the WHR is fast going the way of the BMI in terms of relevance to overall health. The BMI and the WHR are better suited for potential indicators of health problems but only a potential and not a definitive.
Now waist circumference is becoming a good indicator of health but not exactly on the same lines as the BMI or WHR. A male or female with a larger than normal waist circumference might be a risk for certain health problems. Again, the WHR and even waist circumference can really only measure fat in the torso area. This really limits it’s effectiveness as a tool for overall health.
However, recent research is showing that a larger than normal waist circumference might be to be a GOOD indicator of cardiovascular risk factors, body fat distribution, and hypertension in type 2 diabetes.
The BMI and the WHR are not good indicators of a person’s overall body fat composition. At best, they are just indicators of potential health problems that need to be determined with much more accurate methods.
They are tools to be used sparingly if at all but they do not represent a good, accurate depiction of the overall health of the individual in terms of body fat.
A set of calipers and scale will give you a better indication. You can do a single site pinch test or a several site site pinch test to determine if you store fat in different areas than the normal.
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