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If you train hard and play sports, body mass index (BMI) may not be the best indicator of your weight health, according to a recent report in the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Performance Training Journal.

Most athletes break the BMI test’s grading scale since they carry more muscle mass than the average inactive person. BMI testing doesn’t differentiate between fat and fat-free mass, which can misclassify you. It’s why almost the entire NFL is considered severely obese, with the rest of the league’s players falling in the overweight category, according to a 2005 study by University of Connecticut researchers. However, save for offensive lineman, the scientists later found that the majority of players actually had a healthy amount of fat on their frames.

Want a more accurate test to analyze your health? Check your waist circumference, suggests the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Grab a tape measure and tally your waistline by placing the tape directly below your belly button. Then, use the chart below to determine your standing for such ailments as heart disease and diabetes.

Disease Risk

Waist Size (Female)

Waist Size (Male)

Very Low

< 70 cm / 27 inches

 < 80 cm / 31 inches


 70 – 89 cm / 28 – 35 in

 80 – 99 cm / 32 – 38 in


 90 – 109 cm / 36 – 43 in

 100 – 119 cm / 39 – 46 in

Very High

 > 110 cm / 44 in

 > 120 cm / 47 in

About The Author

David Schipper
– David began writing for in 2008, after spending six years at Men’s Health magazine digging up the newest scientific research in health, weight loss, nutrition, muscle and cardiovascular fitness.

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Longevity, Health, Disease, Weight Loss

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