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BMI Best Predictor of Health Risks

Update Date: Dec 27, 2012 03:01 AM EST

While many scientists argue that calculation of a person's Body mass Index is not the right way to determine if they are overweight or not, a new study suggests that B,M.I. works just as good as any other body measurement and in fact is also useful in predicting certain health problems in people.

BMI involves the calculation of the ratio of height to weight in a person. However, the calculation does not involve body shape, fat mass and lean mass.

For the current study, researchers collected data on B.M.I, body fat percentage, waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio of 12,294 men and women.

The researchers then checked how accurately each measure predicted various elements of the metabolic syndrome - high blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose, reduced HDL (or "good") cholesterol and raised LDL ("bad" cholesterol), according to a blog in New York Times.

They found that B.M.I. and body fat percentage could predict high blood pressure the best, while waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio could accurately predict increased fasting glucose and reduced HDL cholesterol. Also, their study revealed that body fat percentage was a good predictor of bad cholesterol.

However, none of these tests could predict any risk factor better than BMI.

"If you see your B.M.I. is high - above 25 - you need to pay attention to it," study senior author Andrew G. Rundle, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia, said. "Despite the criticism of B.M.I., it's still a very good health indicator."

The results were published online last month in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

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