Body composition measurements

Synonyms

Adiposity, apple-shape, body surface area, BMI, BMI calculator, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fat distribution, head circumference-for-age, high cholesterol, hips, lean body mass, metabolic syndrome, obese, obesity, overweight, pear-shape, stature-for-age, underweight, waist, waist circumference, weight-for-age and weight-for-length percentiles, WHR.

Background

Body mass index: Body mass index (BMI) is a tool for indicating weight status in adults. It is a measure of weight for height. For adults over 20 years old, BMI falls into one of these categories: Below 18.5 (underweight), 18.5-24.9 (normal), 25.0-29.9 (Overweight) and 30.0 and above (obese). BMI correlates with body fat; BMI does not measure body fat. The relation between fatness and BMI differs with age and gender.

Waist to hip ratio: Waist to hip ratio (WHR) is the circumference of the waist (smallest part of the torso, usually slightly above the navel) divided by the circumference of the hips (largest part of the buttocks). This ratio may indicate body fat distribution and obesity and potentially the risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Body mass index: Body mass index (BMI) is a tool for indicating weight status in adults. It is a measure of weight for height. For adults over 20 years old, BMI falls into one of these categories: Below 18.5 (underweight), 18.5-24.9 (normal), 25.0-29.9 (Overweight) and 30.0 and above (obese). BMI correlates with body fat; BMI does not measure body fat. The relation between fatness and BMI differs with age and gender.

Waist to hip ratio: Waist to hip ratio (WHR) is the circumference of the waist (smallest part of the torso, usually slightly above the navel) divided by the circumference of the hips (largest part of the buttocks). This ratio may indicate body fat distribution and obesity and potentially the risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Theory/evidence

Body mass index: Body mass index (BMI) is a widely accepted measurement that has been correlated with risk of developing disease. Adult BMI may also be related to child BMI and adiposity, but it is possible that the magnitude of this association depends on the relative fatness of children. It is unclear, however, whether certain disease precede increased BMI or vice versa. For instance, asthma development may be a point on the trajectory of chronic obesity disease or asthma may appear with obesity as a concurrent disorder.

Waist to hip ratio: Research has indicated that body shape may be related to an increased risk of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. An "apple-shape" (weight carried primarily around the waist) seems to have a higher risk of these diseases than a "pear-shape" (weight carried primarily around the hips.) These shapes can be defined by comparing waist circumference to hip circumference, or waist-hip ratio (WHR).


Advertisement