The goal of the study was to see if BMI, waist circumference, and abdominal adiposity (how much fat you carry in your mid-section) were good predictors of cardiovascular disease.
They looked at information for people who did and did not develop cardiovascular disease to see if one or a combination of those measurements could have reliably predicted their disease outcome.
What did they find?
In their words: BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio, whether assessed singly or in combination, do not importantly improve cardiovascular disease risk prediction in people in developed countries when additional information is available for systolic blood pressure, history of diabetes, and lipids.
In my words: They found that just looking at body size and shape was not worth doing if you could use actual measures of health. Which we can.
But I think the real question is – when did we become so medically lazy that we require a study to tell us that? And when are doctors going to stand up and say that they got into their profession to practice medicine, not guessing and body shaming? (Edit: Some readers have taken this paragraph to mean that I don’t think that the study was necessary. To be clear, I’m all for the science, what I’m trying to point out is that we’ve abandoned actual medicine in lieu of staring at people fully clothed and making guesses about their health and we shouldn’t require a study to tell us that’s stupid and lazy.)
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this is what happens when studies are not funded by the weight loss industry.
I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, body size is NOT a diagnosis. This study points to what should be face-palmingly obvious: The only thing that you can tell from someone’s size is what size they are. If you’re looking at someone’s size and drawing conclusions other than what size they are then congratulations – you’ve discovered your prejudices and preconceived notions and what a great chance for you to choose to work on those! Especially if you happen to be entrusted with that person’s health and well-being.