Baku, May 14, AZERTAC
Using a piece of string to find out if you are in proportion might be a better way to see if you are fat than working out your Body Mass Index (BMI).
A new study has revealed that measuring your height with a piece of string, folding it in half and then seeing if you can easily get it round your waist may be a better way to find out if you are an unhealthy size.
At the moment medical professionals use the BMI to decide whether a patient is at risk from disease because of their weight.
However the test has long been known to overestimate the danger posed to those with heavy bone structures or large muscle mass and underestimate the risk to people who carry large amounts of fat around their middle.
International studies have shown in the past that a person is at a lower risk from heart disease if their waist measurement is less than half their height.
This latest study by Oxford Brookes University, surveyed the health of 2917 16-year-olds, the Telegraph reported.
It found one third of those checked would have been overweight if tested by the string method but were classified as normal by the BMI test.
Body Mass Index is checked by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by how tall they are in meters squared.
But Because it does not consider what other weight people might be carrying, muscly people are often classed as obese because muscle is considerably heavier than fat.
The method places top class athletes, sprinters and rugby players, in the same weight and height grouping as people who do not exercise at all.
Beyond saving lives, using the test could also save time and money to European health services, the study says. However there is resistance to changing the status quo because BMI has been the convention for so long.
The research was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague.