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May 5, 2010
For many years, body mass index, or BMI, was supposed to be one of the key indexes not only in the context of weight management, but also from the point of preventing many common diseases, like stroke or diabetes. BMI is an important index stated in any type of electronic clinical records, and almost all doctors use for making a correct diagnosis as the index recommended by the World’s Health Organization.
However, for long time German specialists have been questioning the effectiveness of BMI and promote more careful approach to using BMI in every aspect of medicine. They say that this index does not indicate neither height, nor body specifics, nor individual correlation between fat and muscle mass. Look at it: an athlete who works days and nights in a gym can have the same body mass index as many fat people, who are laying down in a sofa with a pack of chips in their hands.
Recently, the specialists at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University, decided to carry out a research about the effectiveness of BMI for weight management and overall health of people. Harald Shnider, one of the team leaders, comments on the findings as the following: “The BMI plays no role whatsoever in predicting strokes, heart attacks or other death-risks of individuals.” Detailed information about the study can be found in a February issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Instead of using BMI, the experts suggest two new indexes: WHR or waist-hip ratio, WHtR or waist-height ratio. Though these ratios also do not indicate the percentage of body fat, it can work better than BMI. “Fat within the waist range can deliver harmful fatty acids and various chemical messengers into the body which can cause inflammations and lead to other problems,” says Shnider. Also, the specialist points on the presence of “good” and “bad” fat within the body. The “good” one, which lies on thighs and hips does not increase risks of hypertension or stroke. However, “bad” fat which lies around the waist, is one of the leading reasons of heart problems.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.