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SCIENCE BRIEFING

Inches may mean more than BMI

November 15, 2008|Times Staff and Wire Reports

A large European study has confirmed that simple measurements of the waist and hips may offer a better way of predicting obesity-related death than a standard, but more complicated, system of relating weight to height.

The standard body mass index, or BMI, method does not work very well for some people, such as the elderly or bodybuilders, and researchers have begun building a case that it is better to look at waist circumference or the ratio of waist size to hip size.

Among people with comparable BMIs, having an extra 2 inches around the waist increased the annual risk of death 17% for men and 13% for women, German researchers reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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