LIFESTYLE

Forget BMI, The Key To A Long Healthy Life Is In Your Waist-Height Ratio

10/09/2014 13:52 BST | Updated 11/09/2014 11:59 BST

In order to live a long and healthy life, people should look no further than their waistband. Or, at least, it's a good place to start.

According to a recent study, an individual's waistline measurement should be no more than half their height in order to live a long life.

The study, conducted by researchers at City University London, looked at two decades' worth of data from around 300,000 adults.

measure waist

Findings revealed that a waist-to-height ratio of 80% or more could reduce life expectancy by as many as 20 years. In addition an increase of seven inches can knock more than one and a half years off of a person's life.

So what does this mean in practice? Well, a man measuring 5ft 10" should have a waist measurement of no more than 35", while a 5ft 4" woman should have a maximum waist circumference of 32".

SEE ALSO:

Why Is Male Life Expectancy Lower Than Women's?

57% Of Women's Waistlines Are 'Too Big', Survey Suggests

According to co-author of the study, Dr Margaret Ashwell, people should not rely on BMI measurements as indicators of a healthy lifestyle.

“People are living in false hope if they rely on their BMI figure," she said in a statement. "We have got to measure the right thing.”

Dr Ashwell is famed for popularising the idea that apple-shaped figures carry more health risks than pear-shaped ones, said that BMI measurement does not differentiate between fat and muscle - nor is it an effective tool for overweight women.

Les Mayhew, a professor of statistics at Cass Business School, added: “There is now overwhelming evidence that government policy should place greater emphasis on waist to height ratio as a screening tool.”

What do you think?