Body Shape Index a Better Predictor of Mortality Than Body Mass Index
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This research is worth noting as a measure of the relative importance of visceral fat to long-term health. The more of it you have the worse off you are:

[Researchers] developed a new method to quantify the risk specifically associated with abdominal obesity. A follow-up study [supports] their contention that the technique, known as A Body Shape Index (ABSI), is a more effective predictor of mortality than Body Mass Index (BMI), the most common measure used to define obesity.

The team analyzed data for 7,011 adults, 18+, who participated in the first Health and Lifestyle Survey (HALS1), conducted in Great Britain in the mid 1980s, and a follow-up survey seven years later (HALS2). The sample was broadly representative of the British population in terms of region, employment status, national origin, and age. They used National Health Service records through 2009 to identify deaths and cancer cases: 2,203 deaths were recorded among the sample population.

The analysis found ABSI to be a strong indicator of mortality hazard among the HALS population. Death rates increased by a factor of 1.13 for each standard deviation increase in ABSI. Persons with ABSI in the top 20 percent were found to have death rates 61 percent higher than those with ABSI in the bottom 20 percent.

Link: http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/news/body-shape-index-study.cfm

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