The ratio of one's waist to their height may be a more accurate way than body mass index (BMI) to predict future health and lifespan.
With the BMI method, used by most doctors, the person's weight (in kilograms) is divided by the square of their height in meters, reports The Telegraph.
However, a new study from Oxford Brookes University says that the measurement of a person's waist against their height can more accurately predict lifespan. People, whose waistlines measured 80 percent of their height, lived 17 years fewer than the average person.
According to the study, the ideal is to keep your waist circumference (length around your waist) to less than half your height in order to lessen your chances for strokes, heart disease and diabetes.
Measuring someone's waist is important because it includes belly fat, which forms around the organs.
"If you are measuring waist-to-height ratio you are getting a much earlier prediction that something is going wrong, and then you can do something about it," said Dr. Margaret Ashwell, who presented her study at the European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, England.
"The beauty is that you can do it in centimeters or inches, it doesn't matter. We have got increasing evidence that this works very well with children as well, because whilst they grow up their waist is growing, but also their height."
Source: The Telegraph