Measure Your Heart Risks By Your Waist and Hips

Three years ago, I told you about waist-to-hip measurements as well as body mass index (BMI) being used as an indicator, not only of obesity, but of thickening carotid arteries. A new study argues waist-to-hip measurements may better predict the risk of heart attack among different ethnic groups than BMI.

Canadian researchers studied the medical records of some 27,000 patients, including almost half who had suffered a heart attack. A patient's risk of heart attack rose as his or her waist grew in proportion to the size of their hips.

In fact, the "top" 20 percent of patients who had the highest hip-to-waist ratios more than doubled their risk of heart attack as compared to those with the lowest ratios. The Chinese and southeast Asian scored best on the waist-to-hip ratio scale, with North Americans sitting in the middle in the pack.

Researchers suggested a strategy of trimming abdominal fat and perhaps increasing one's hip size by building muscle mass. Sounds like a two-pronged task in which diet and exercise are equally important, as they always are.

On the diet side, the best way to get started is to begin retooling your eating habits based on your body's unique nutritional type. After reading about nutritional typing, please take my free test that will help you determine the best foods for body.

As far as exercise, you'll get the most out of it if you treat it like a drug that must be precisely prescribed for you to achieve the maximum benefits.

USA Today November 3, 2005

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