BMI Vs. Waist Circumference for Heart Health

Waist circumference may better predict heart disease risk than BMI

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) For predicting heart disease risk, waist circumference may be a better tool than body mass index (BMI), a new study found.

BMI is a measure of body fat based on weight and height. Waist circumference is how big around a patient is at the waist.

Although both a high BMI and a large waist circumference have been tied to heart health problems in past studies, this study suggests that, among patients with diabetes, carrying weight around the waist may be more harmful than carrying it in other places.

The authors of this study, from Intermountain Medical Center and Johns Hopkins, looked at 200 patients with diabetes who had not yet been diagnosed with heart disease. The research team found abdominal weight (apple-shaped) may be a stronger predictor of regional left ventricular dysfunction, a common precursor to heart disease, than BMI or body weight. 

Dr. Rosen, the study lead, states, "further studies are needed to verify these findings."

These researchers noted that reducing waist circumference (size) could lower heart disease risk.

This research was presented at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer-reviewed.

Funding sources and conflicts of interest were not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
April 2, 2016
Last Updated:
April 5, 2016