Longevity Briefs: The hips don’t lie

Posted on 29 September 2020

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Body mass index, or BMI, is a widely used metric when it comes to indicating obesity and its related conditions. However, the reliability of BMI is questionable as the measurement does not differentiate between lean body mass (muscle mass) and fat mass. This means that those who have a relatively high ratio of muscle are deemed to have a high BMI and are therefore obese, this shows it’s ability to predict weight related issues is flawed.

What did the researchers do: This systematic review published in the BMJ earlier this month aimed to investigate the association between central fatness with the risk of all-cause mortality. Central fatness is a metric made up of several measurements focusing on the core of the body, including waist, hip and thigh circumference and more. This gives a more specific picture of where fat is deposited around the body, resulting in greater accuracy when predicting weight-related issues compared to BMI.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: The researchers found that having a relatively larger waist was significantly associated with greater risk of death. Interestingly, it was also revealed that having a larger hip and thigh circumference resulted in lower risk of having a premature death.

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