Newman Professor Co-authors Research in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases Journal

20/04/2022 by Leah Masters

Tony Myers

Tony Myers, Professor in Quantitative Methods at Newman University, has been working in collaboration with colleagues across the West Midlands to examine the efficacy of Body Mass Index (BMI) to accurately predict health outcomes.

Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, is widely used in healthcare settings as an indirect method to determine a person’s weight status, and identify potential health risks relative to this status.

Experts are now contesting the use of BMI as a measure of health, with research suggesting that alternative anthropometric indices involving waist circumference are better indicators of increased cardio metabolic risk (CMR).

Professor Myers, along with Alan Nevill, Research Professor in the Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton and Michael J. Duncan, Professor in Exercise Science in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University have been working to identify an alternative method to predict cardio metabolic risk, following increased scrutiny of BMI as a measure of health. The team examined the efficacy of BMI and three waist-circumference indices; waist-to-height ratio, unadjusted waist circumference, and a waist circumference index independent of height, in explaining cardio-metabolic risk in 53,390 participants.

While the three waist-circumference indices did outperform BMI in predicting CMR factors, the team could not identify a superior singular waist-circumference index, with Professor Nevill suggesting, “there is no one size fits all regarding which is the optimal waist circumference index to use to predict CMR”. When taller individuals are at greater CMR, unadjusted WC is the best index, but when shorter individuals are more vulnerable, waist-to-height ratio is better. If neither taller nor shorter individuals are likely to be at greater risk, waist circumference independent of height is probably the correct index to use.

Tony Myers, Professor in Quantitative Methods at Newman University commented: “It is important for medics and the public to appreciate the usefulness of simple but effective predictors of cardio metabolic risk. Particularly given these can help ensure those who are at risk get timely medical interventions. Our work is important in this, as it not only shows waist circumference indices outperform BMI but also shows how best to adjust waist measurement in relation to height, when considering different medical conditions.”

This research has recently been published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, an international journal which explores the relationship between nutritional and metabolic change and cardiovascular disorders.

Find out more about Professor Tony Myers’ research and teaching at Newman University.