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Why Body Mass Index Is Not a Useful Metric

When it comes to measuring how fit — or not — we are, most people begin by stepping on the scales. And while weight is an indicator of body mass, it’s not the only measurement we should be looking at, according to The Atlantic. What’s more important is knowing your body’s fat composition in relation to your lean muscle percentage.

I’ve been saying for a long time that measuring your health by body mass index (BMI) is a big fat lie. Body mass index is a formula that divides your weight by the square of your height, and it’s one of the most commonly used measures of overweight, obesity, and overall health. But the paradox is sometimes a higher BMI is healthier.

The truth is your waist-to-hip ratio is a more reliable indicator of your future disease risk because a higher ratio suggests you have more visceral fat. To determine your waist-to-hip ratio, get a tape measure and record your waist and hip circumference. Then divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference.

Your fitness level is also a far better predictor of mortality than your BMI. One study found that people who rarely exercised had a 70 percent higher risk of premature death than those who exercised regularly, independent of their BMI.

If you’re ready to trip your fat switch and get lean, begin by eliminating sugar from your diet. You can also use intermittent fasting and high-intensity peak fitness exercises to round out your program.
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