[Paleopsych] NYT: Predictions: Is Your Heart at Risk? Get the Tape Measure
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Sun Nov 20 18:44:18 UTC 2005
Predictions: Is Your Heart at Risk? Get the Tape Measure
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
The most common way of determining who is obese, body mass index or
B.M.I., may not be the most accurate in determining the risk of
A study in the Nov. 5 issue of Lancet, the medical journal, has found
that waist-to-hip ratio is a better predictor of heart attack.
A waist-to-hip ratio (waist measurement divided by hip measurement)
below 0.85 in women or 0.9 in men is average. Anything above that is a
risk for heart disease.
The researchers, led by Dr. Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at
McMaster University near Toronto, studied 12,461 people who had had a
first heart attack and compared them to a matched group of 14,637
without heart disease.
A body mass index greater than 28.2 in women or 28.6 in men did
indicate an increased risk of heart attack, but the relationship
disappeared after adjusting for age, sex, geographic region and
Waist-to-hip ratio, on the other hand, showed a continuous
relationship to heart attack risk even after adjusting for other risk
factors. Those in the highest fifth were 2.52 times as likely to have
a heart attack as those in the lowest fifth.
"I don't want to tell people to abandon B.M.I. if this will make them
uncomfortable," Dr. Yusuf said, "but that is what we are doing in our
studies, at least in terms of risk assessment."
Waist-to-hip ratio was a predictor of heart attack even in people
regarded as very lean, those with body mass indexes under 20. Also,
there was no evidence of a threshold where the risk would level off:
the higher the waist-to-hip ratio, the higher the risk of a heart
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