If you’re hoping on a bathroom scale every morning to find out how much you weigh, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Unfortunately, the same goes for the BMI (or body mass index), a tool that tells you if you’re underweight, normal, overweight, or obese based on a weight to height ratio.
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In reality, body weight is made up of fat mass and muscle mass—leaving an athletic person who has build a great deal of muscle mass weighing a whole lot on a scale that makes zero differentiations. The opposite can also ring true, a person who weighs very little can carry most of their weight in body fat, which isn’t healthy despite the numbers on that scale.
Luckily, there are several tools that can accurately measure body fat vs. muscle mass…
1. Waist-to-Hip Ratio
According to a study from the European Heart Journal, measuring waist-to-hip ratio will quickly determine if you’re prone to heart disease. A waist-to-hip ratio of 0.8 or more indicates a risk of cardiovascular disease.
To determine waist-to-hip ratio, wind a soft tape measure around the widest parts of your waist and hips, and then find an online calculator to tell you the results. Waist-to-hip ratio (as well as waist circumference alone) is used by medical experts to determine overall heart disease risk.