Accumulation of fat around the abdomen is known to be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight
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Belly fat is being targeted in a new NHS warning to Britons trying to keep their waist size to less than half their height.
The landmark guideline from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) marks a move away from reliance on body mass index (BMI) to assess health risk.
For the first time, it encourages adults with a BMI below 35 kg/m² to measure their own waist-to-height ratio.
Experts increasingly believe that the most important factor is where fat accumulates, not how much we have overall.
Accumulation of fat around the abdomen is known to be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
dr Paul Chrisp, Director at NICE, said: “Our updated draft guidelines provide people with a simple and effective way to measure their weight so they can understand the factors that could be affecting their health and take action to address them.
“Our committee found that a clear benefit of using the waist-to-height ratio is that people can easily measure it themselves, interpret the results, and seek medical advice if they are at increased health risk.
“The evidence shows that people from some Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups have a greater propensity to develop central obesity and are at increased risk for cardiometabolic health. Those from these family backgrounds can receive support from weight management services if needed.”
NHS experts are concerned young people in particular are becoming complacent about their health because they’re not technically obese.
A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, 30 to 39.9 is obese, and 40 or more is very obese.
dr Nivedita Aswani, Member of the NICE Policy Committee, said: “A waist measurement can be taken independently by a young person in the safety of their own home or by a caregiver for their child.
“A waist circumference of more than half the height of a person is an indication of a higher risk.
“Young people should be encouraged to seek weight management counseling and empathetic support to reduce their risk of developing these conditions and improve overall health and well-being.”
Anyone who wants to find out the waist to height ratio can use an online calculator or ask a doctor to calculate it for them.
For example, a 5ft 4in woman with a 29in waist would have a healthy ratio, but 32in would put her in the unhealthy range.
A man who is 5 feet 10 inches tall would be at increased health risk with a 36 inch waist.
The guideline states that a healthy waist-to-height ratio is 0.4 to 0.49, indicating no increased health risks.
A ratio of 0.5 to 0.59 indicates an increased risk of health problems, while a ratio of 0.6 or more indicates the highest risk of health problems.
Prof Rachel Batterham, Obesity Advisor and member of the NICE Guidance Committee, said: “The waist-to-height ratio is a simple, easy-to-use measure that identifies individuals at increased health risk who would benefit from weight management assistance to improve their health.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/brits-urged-keep-waist-size-26661584 Britons pushed for limiting waist size to less than half height for health reasons