The key to a long life is having a waist measurement no more than half your height revealed a study by Cass Business School at City University in London. The study that is based on two decades of medical research after looking at records of more than 300,000 adults said a waist to height ratio of 80 per cent or more could reduce life expectancy by up to 20 years.
Dr. Margaret Ashwell, who co-authored the study, said: "Keep your waist circumference to less than half your height. The 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." She added, "the waist-to-height ratio is a far more reliable predictor of ill health and obesity than the Body Mass Index (BMI) - which is widely used by doctors."
Dr. Ashwell who also discovered that apple-shaped obesity is more dangerous than pear-shaped, said BMI was particularly poor at measuring early death due to obesity in women.
The researchers believe that a 30-year-old man with a height of 5ft 10ins should have a waist size which is not more 35 inches.
An increase of waist size to 42 inches or 60% of his height will reduce 1.7 years of his life.
At the same time, a 30-year-old woman who is 5ft 4ins and allows allows her waist size to expand from 32 to 38.4 inches will reduce 1.4 years of her life.
Presently most life and health predictions are based on waist size and Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated from a person's total weight and height.Public Library of Science
that published the study, said BMI was particularly poor at predicting obesity-related premature deaths in women. Dr. Ashwell, of Cass Business School at City University London, said, "People are living in false hope if they rely on their BMI figure, we have got to measure the right thing."
Dr. Rachel Pyke, of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: "There is an urgent need for research that shows us how to tackle established obesity - in particular childhood obesity."
The study suggested that children are to be measured from the age of five to eliminate them from being at risk of obesity and associated health problems when they grow to become adults.
"There is now overwhelming evidence that government policy should place greater emphasis on waist-to-height ratio as a screening tool," says Professor Les Mayhew, who was also involved in the study to be published by the Public Library of Science