What body fat measurements can help me assess my heart disease risk?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
A recent report in The Lancet pooled findings from 58 studies involving more than 220,000 people to better understand how to use body fat measurements to help assess heart disease risk. The investigators concluded that body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio (another way to gauge body size) were equal in terms of predicting heart disease risk.

You can calculate your BMI like this: divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches. Divide the answer by your height in inches. Multiply that answer by 703. Or use the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's easy online calculator.[] Given that it's simpler to look up your BMI than to correctly measure your waist or hip circumference, it makes sense to focus on BMI.

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