ROCHESTER, MN — Don't put away that tape measure yet. Body mass index (BMI), the standard measure of obesity used by many professionals in the fitness and health industry, is flawed and should be changed, according to recent research at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN. BMI, calculated using height and weight measurements, is not as accurate as it should be, and other more accurate measures are available, the researchers said in an August article in the Lancet medical journal.

Researchers looked at data from 40 studies of 250,000 people with heart disease. They found that patients with high BMIs had fewer heart problems and better survival rates than those with normal BMIs, and patients with low BMIs had higher risks of death from heart disease than those with normal BMIs.

Another article in that issue of Lancet suggested that the waist-to-hip test was the best predictor of heart attack risk.