Health Insights: Waist size and fitness level Vs body weight

By Asunta Simoloka

Asunta Simoloka

Asunta Simoloka

Body weight, including body mass index, is widely used as the exclusive indicator of wellness.

However, a growing body of evidence shows waist size and fitness level to be more dependable indicators of wellness, and strongly implies that the role of weight as the sole indicator of wellness is overstated.

scaleThe scale cannot determine how weight is distributed between vital body weight like skeletal tissue, lean muscle, organ tissue, and vital fluids and unwanted body fat.

bellyMost importantly, weight cannot tell how much belly fat is present and this happens to be the most essential detail because a large belly signals fat surrounding the heart, liver, and other vital organs in the body’s mid section, raising the risk for various diseases, especially heart related.

In contrast, waist size can tell how much belly fat is deposited.  The waist is like a snapshot of the heart, a small waistline indicates a healthy heart while a large belly signals an unhealthy heart.

Moreover, body weight cannot ascertain fitness level.  Even though someone is not heavy, if that person is unfit then he or she is unhealthy.  Lack of exercise is extremely harmful and is a major reason for rising rates of obesity and chronic illnesses.

waistwaist sizeBody weight is unreliable because it is highly inconsistent whereas waist size tends to be very consistent.  In some cases high body weigh may indeed signal excess belly fat but sometimes being heavy simply means abundance of dense body tissues like lean muscle and bone mass.  Body weight cannot distinguish between these two cases but waist size can tell them apart.

Due to body weight being deeply flawed, gross misclassifications as to who is healthy and who is unhealthy are common.  Soundly healthy people who are very fit and have plenty of lean muscle are classified as overweight, and therefore unhealthy. Similarly, people who are very unfit and have large waistlines but don’t weigh a lot are classified as healthy.

Ideally, the waistline should measure less than half your height, if you are 150 cm tall, your waist circumference should be less than 75 cm.

Healthy living tip

Studies show that people who eat too much meat also have many other unhealthy habits