>The Middle View

In the past year I’ve gone from a size 14 to a size 8, but have lost only 13 pounds.

This was mysterious to me, but my fitness instructor says I’ve probably lost 25 pounds of fat and gained 12 pounds of muscle.

This is intriguing, because the most common measure of health and fitness is the BMI (body mass index, an estimate of body fat based on height and weight). My BMI (of 27) indicates that I’m still significantly overweight — which seems to me to a bit weird for a size 8 woman.

Now comes a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that suggests that waist circumference (adjusted by race/ethnic identity) is a better indicator of fitness and risk for cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, my waist is the area of my body that has lost the most inches; my waist measurement falls well below the study’s criterion for “overweight.”

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