Hip new guide to heart attack risk
Do you know your waist to hip ratio? Latest research suggests that this figure could be the best guide yet to your chances of a heart attack.
An international survey published in the medical journal The Lancet found that this was a good indication of risk regardless of country, culture or ethnic group.
Put bluntly, the liklihood of heart attack increases as the waist size increases in proportion to the hips. The men with the the highest ratio were 2.5 times more likely to have a heart attack than the men with the lowest ratio, the study found. It was a much better guide than the traditional body mass index (BMI).
How to work out your waist-hip ratio
- Measure your hips.
- Measure your waist (around the belly button).
- Divide waist by hips to get a percentage
A 30-inch waist and 36-inch hips, for instance, works out to a 83% - a good ratio. But 36 inch waist and 34 inch hips is 105% - dangerous.
Overall, worldwide ratios were about 90%. People in China scored best at 88%, followed by 89% in southeast Asia, 90% in North America, 92% in Africa, 93% in the Middle East and 94% in South America.
The reason why this is such a good guide are not clear. It may be that hormones affect waist and hip size, or that there may be important differences in the fat composition in the two areas. Larger hips might also indicate your skelton's overall muscle mass.
- The Interheart study, directed by Dr. Salim Yusuf of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, drew on data from 27,098 people in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, including 12,461 who had suffered a heart attack.
Page created on November 7th, 2005
Page updated on December 1st, 2009