Harvard Heart Letter

Weighing in on the value of the body mass index

The body mass index (BMI) is a common way to estimate body fat and is based on a person’s weight in relation to their height. In the United States, two-thirds of adults have a BMI in the overweight or obese category. But a waist circumference measurement is an equally important method for assessing a person’s risk of heart disease and other problems linked to excess body fat. For women, a waist circumference of 35 inches or more signals a high risk; for men, it’s 40 inches or higher. 
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