HAMILTON, Ontario, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The waist-to-hip ratio is three times stronger than body mass index, or BMI, in predicting the risk of a heart attack, say Canadian researchers.
Dr. Salim Yusuf, director of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, looked at BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, waist measure and hip measure in more than 27,000 people from 52 countries.
Larger waist size, which reflects the amount of abdominal fat, was harmful, whereas larger hip size, which may indicate the amount of lower body muscle, was protective, found Yusuf.
The heart attack patients had a strikingly higher waist-to-hip ratio than controls, irrespective of other cardiovascular risk factors. The researchers found that this observation was consistent in men and women, across all ages, and in all regions of the world.
If obesity is redefined using waist-to-hip ratio instead of BMI the proportion of people at risk of heart attack increases by three-fold, the authors wrote in The Lancet.