By now, it's been drilled into us that the number on our weighing scales is not important.


And while Body mass index (BMI) is the most commonly used measure of body fat, there's another number that we should be keeping our eyes on.


A recent study, from researchers in the UK and Australia, analysed data on body composition and mortality on more than 42,000 women and men over the course of 10 years.


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They found that people with a normal BMI (between 18.5 and 25) but with a high waist-to-hip ratio (above 0.85 for women or 0.9 for men) were 22 per cent more likely to die from any and all causes.


People who were found to be obese (BMI above 30) and have a high waist-to-hip ratio also had a greater chance of dying than normal-waisted people.


But, here is the intriguing part. People who were obese, but had a normal waist-to-hip ratio did not have an increased risk of death, despite being overweight.


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This could mean that we need to focus more on our waist-to-hip ratio rather than our BMI.


The study backs up previous findings that found a link between excess belly fat and mortality rate.


We may start to pay more attention to our mid-sections than anything else now.