Forget BMI—This Is the Best Way to Tell If You're at a Healthy Weight

Updated 06/02/17
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Staying healthy is a conscious day-by-day endeavor that involves working out, eating right, and having yearly check-ins with your doctor. You may be used to getting your body mass index (BMI) taken at your yearly physical—it calculates your weight over your height—but pretty soon that may no longer be the case. New evidence indicates that using the BMI measurement is not the best way to determine whether you’re at a healthy weight, reports Women’s Health.

The BMI measurement was actually created more than 200 years ago with the hopes of tracking obesity, and it doesn’t take into account your sex, race, or bone density (among other important factors). Secondly, you might be totally fit and actually have a BMI that indicates you’re overweight when it’s really just due to having a lot of lean muscle mass. To further prove this case, a study conducted in 2016 indicated that 47% of people who were categorized as “overweight” by BMI standards were actually in good physical shape.

So what’s the best way to tell if you’re on the right track health-wise? A recent study titled "A Pooled Analysis of Waist Circumference and Mortality in 650,000 Adults" suggests that regularly measuring the circumference of your waist is a good indicator of health. This is due to the fact that "waist circumference strongly correlates with abdominal obesity and is the most commonly used clinical measure of body fat distribution," explain the study authors.

The findings suggest that women who have a waist circumference of 95 centimeters or greater have an 80% larger risk of mortality than those whose waist circumference is less than 70 centimeters. If you want to go old school and step on the scale, choose one that calculates full body composition—i.e., your lean and fat mass (try Withings Body, $100). Most important, when it comes to measuring health, there's no one-size-fits-all approach.

Be sure to read about the one drink that will make the most of your workouts, and tell us what you think about the above in the comments.

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