Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist-Hips Index (WHR), two different methods to measure our body composition

The weight indicated by the scale can be a guiding parameter on the health of the body or on our predisposition to certain diseases. To counter this type of limitation, we can guide ourselves more reliably through other indices.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) and the Life- Index Hips (WHR) are two different methodologies for measuring body composition quickly and easily. Two other modern standards that can offer us great information and help prevent certain diseases.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Of the two parameters we are talking about today, BMI is undoubtedly the best known to all. It is a quick and easy calculation of our body composition which evaluates if our weight is adequate and agrees with our structure.

So, the only data we need to take into account when evaluating the amount of body fat we have will be our weight , in kilograms and our height or height in square meters.

Calcolare peso ideale

Today there are many calculators which facilitate the BMI equation and in which we will simply have to enter the two data to know the result, as in the case of the web page of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) which also offers us an indicative table to know in concrete way in which we are.

Values ​​proposed by the WHO

According to the values ​​proposed by the WHO, taking into account eration the result of the equation we will evaluate the body composition as follows:

  • Low weight = BMI less than 18.5.
  • Normal weight = BMI between 18.5-24.9.
  • Overweight = BMI between 25-29.9.
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or more.

Tabella peso-altezza

Waist-Hip Index (WHR)

The other parameter that provides us with information on body composition, a little less known, is the waist-hip index (WHR), which in addition to indicating the personal tendency or predisposition to accumulate fat, indicates the probability of suffering from heart disease, diabetes or blood pressure problems , among others.

This measurement, used to know the intra-abdominal fat levels , is used as a complementary tool to the calculation of the BMI, since this the latter leads to certain limitations that do not completely distinguish whether overweight may be caused by muscle hypertrophy or drift of to an increase in body fat itself.

In this way, according to various studies (I II), the WHR index may be a more accurate indicator of overweight or risk of coronary heart disease. / p>

The WHR is the relationship that divides the perimeter of a person’s life. Let’s see his equation :

Misurare WHR

For the calculation it is necessary to take the measurements of the waist at the point of the last floating rib (usually around the navel) and those of the maximum circumference of the hip, around the buttocks, and then divide them

Values ​​proposed by WHO

The standard values ​​proposed indicate the following values ​​to consider:

  • WHR = 0.71-0.84 normal for women.
  • WHR = 0.78-0.94 normal for men.
  • Higher values: Android syndrome (apple body).
  • Lower values: Gynoid syndrome (pear-shaped).

Valori WHR uomini e donne

My personal example

How particular and personal example, in many of my routine checks, when my doctor calculated my Body Mass Index, the result was a BMI = 25.9 . Seen theoretically and paying attention only to the table of values ​​proposed by the WHO, it would clearly be within the range of people with overweight problems; and that was specifically the medical diagnosis: overweight .

My weight was 79kg with 8% body fat

This is the BMI limitation we refer to when only body weight is evaluated, without distinguishing between the amount of muscle mass we have or the amount of body fat. In other words, parameters such as Body Fat Index (IGC) are not taken into account).

Alternative parameter of body composition measurement: WHtR

We have talked about BMI and WHR as body composition methodologies, although there are other alternatives that are increasingly known every day and which according to various studies show us conclusions to evaluate cardiovascular risk and nutritional status, such as the Height – Waist Index (WHtr) or Waist-Size Index.

This is the ratio of waist circumference to height , both measured in the same units. The higher the WHtR values, the greater the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. From a WHtR greater than 0.5 , we are facing a significant risk.


Table of values ​​

Tabella dei valori WHtR

  • According to a recent study, WHtR has become the most important and reliable tool for detecting the risk of ‘heart attack, myocardium or death , above the BMI or WHR.
  • Other studies indicate that the WHR methodology would be the most appropriate to predict the risk of ischemic infarction .

Limitations to be-aware of

Both BMI and WHR or WHtR are simple and indicative calculations, valid to give us an idea of ​​a possible overweight or risk of suffering from certain diseases, but should not be considered a foolproof method .

Different individuals, with different weights and fat percentages, may adapt to a healthy BMI or WHR, although they may actually be at risk from other types of determining factors such as genetics or exposure ne environmental .

Therefore, using these parameters can be of great help for orientation and progress, but without forgetting that it is certainly limited data and that whenever there is an external predisposition it would be advisable to contact a specialist for an in-depth evaluation.

These parameters are useful tools, in terms of body composition, but always subject to certain limitations by external factors.

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