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Table 1 Adults misclassified by body mass index (BMI) revealed by waist-to-height ratio (WHtR)

From: A proposal for a primary screening tool: `Keep your waist circumference to less than half your height’

BMI group Numbers with WHtR equal or less than 0.5 (% in brackets) Numbers with WHtR more than 0.5 (% in brackets) Total in BMI category (% in brackets) Percentage of each sex at risk by WHtR but missed by BMI screening Percentage of each sex at risk by BMI but not at risk by WHtR
Men      
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to below 25) 103 (70%) 45 (30%) 148 (100%) 9% (45/505)  
Overweight and obese (BMI 25 and above) 17 (5%) 340 (95%) 357 (100%) 3% (17/505)
Women      
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to below 25) 197 (74%) 70 (26%) 267 (100%) 11% (70/652)  
Overweight and obese (BMI 25 and above) 29 (8%) 356 (92%) 385 (100%) 4% (29/652)
All adults      
Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to below 25) 300 (72%) 115 (28%) 415 (100%) 10% (115/1157)  
Overweight and obese (BMI 25 and above) 46 (6%) 696 (94%) 752 (100%)   4% (46/1157)
TOTAL (excludes 13 adults with BMI <18.5) 346 (30%) 811 (70%) 1157 (100%)   
  1. In Table 1, we have used recent data from four years of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) (2008 to 2012) to illustrate how the adult (19- to 64-year old) population is split using the traditional BMI boundary values and the proposed WHtR boundary value of 0.5. Cross-tabulation shows those with central fat distribution (WHtR >0.5) who would be `missed’ by BMI screening and those who are overweight/obese by BMI screening but do not have central fat distribution.