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    Sunday, 4 June 2017

    Why waist circumference and not BMI can save your life

    Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that has been used for many years now, for male and female.
    BMI is used to screen for level of risk, for weight related diseases such as High blood pressure, Diabetes and High blood pressure to name a few.
    This tool is popular, due to being inexpensive, simple to do and results can be deduced on the spot. Method has been used for many years, one that is popular in most Zimbabwean  hospitals, clinics and Health institutes.
    Despite the fact that it is a good tool for health assessment purposes, one would need to consider the fact that using this tool solely  may not be the best for Africans or Zimbabweans like us.
    According to a recent study done by British Journal of Nutrition, study was that found the BMI formula, which is widely used to determine body fat, may not be accurate for non-Caucasian (white skinned or European originality), multicultural populations.
    Hence the need for revision of the tool used to assess how healthy one is in relation to weight related diseases.
    Yet if these diseases such as hypertension only affected those with BMI greater than 24.9 (normal range), then all the thin people would not be affected, but that is not the case.
    Some thin people have belly fat that is actually of more concern than their BMI.
    With the  growing  number of hypertensive cases, 718 648 based on 2016 statistics.
    A Lot of  concern is being shown, as it is one of the major causes of death in Zimbabwe, shows little or no symptoms and hence is difficult to detect beforehand.
    The correlation between belly fat and Non communicable diseases, is definitely not anything new.
    As this was discovered almost  60 years ago, by a French physician Jean Vague who observed that people with larger waists had a higher risk of premature cardiovascular disease and death than people who had trimmer waists or carried more of their weight around their hips and thighs.
    Decades later, numerous  long-term follow-up studies have proved that so-called "abdominal obesity" is strongly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death, even after controlling for body mass index (BMI).
    Hence, why most Global Health care sectors are recommended to take waist circumference measures plus weight for prevention of Non Communicable diseases.
    Normal Waist circumferences for men are 90 cm (about 35.5 in) and below, 80 cm (about 31.5 in) for women and anything above doubles the risk of these diseases and risk is  increased steadily with every added inch around the waist.
    One must note that it is possible to reduce belly fat, by eating a healthy diet, above 30 years it is important for one to start cutting down on Carbohydrates especially at night.
    As digestion of carbohydrates becomes slower, resulting in collection of this fat around midsection area.
    It is also important that one gets at least 6 hours of sleep, takes measures to reduce or manage stress and ensuring that you remain physically fit by walking, jogging, participating in sports or even joining a gym.
    In the event that you may be struggling with developing healthy eating habits, you can see Nutritionists, Health Coach or visit a Doctor and start working on losing the belly fat today.
    For no longer is abdominal fat, a sign of wealth, prestige or money anymore.
    It is a sign that you need to change your lifestyle and eating habits before, it affects your health as well.
    Rumbidzai Mukori is a Health  Consultant and Nutritionist who writes in her own capacity. She can be contacted on her mobile number 0775 923 563, 0716 936 098 or email: rumbidzai7@gmail.com.health news
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