The Benefits of Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference in the Assessment of Health Risk
By Mary S. Tuttle, M.S.; Alexander H.K. Montoye, Ph.D.; Leonard A. Kaminsky, Ph.D., FACSM
Condensed Version & Bottom Line:
Body mass index and waist circumference can be used as effective tools to assess weight-related health risk in health and fitness (H&F) facilities. These measures are simple, inexpensive, and can be performed with high precision; therefore, the current recommendations suggest that physicians use these measures at least annually to identify adults who may be at an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health risks. Similarly, all H&F facilities should perform these measurements on all new clients to effectively identify each individual’s weight-related health risk. Body mass index and waist circumference also can be used to track changes in weight and fat distribution throughout an individual’s exercise program.
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The reader will gain greater understanding of the effectiveness of emphasizing the use of body mass index and waist circumference within health and fitness settings to assess weight-related health risk. In addition, insight will be gained into how these assessments can be used to track change effectively in weight and fat distribution through time. Alternative methods for assessing weight related health risk populations with high amounts of fat-free mass will be discussed.
Key words: Obesity; Weight Loss; Body Composition; Anthropometric Measurements; Overweight
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