People are being encouraged to keep their waist measurement to less than half their height to reduce the risk of potential health problems, according to recommendations in an updated NICE draft guideline.

Using the waist-to-height ratio, in conjunction with BMI, can help to provide a practical estimate of central adiposity, which is the accumulation of fat around the abdomen, to help to assess and predict health risks, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease. NICE added the waist-to-height ratio to its draft guideline after looking at evidence from several studies which showed that, alongside BMI, it could be used to assess and predict weight-related conditions in all ethnicities and sexes.

The 2019 Health Survey for England estimated the prevalence of obesity in adults in England to be 28%, with overweight affecting a further 36%. Government estimates indicate that the current costs of obesity in the UK are £6.1 billion to the NHS and £27 billion to wider society.

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Source: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)