8 Habits for a Healthy Life

7. Grab a Tape Measure and Check Your Waist

“It’s not about BMI anymore — all the reasearch now shows that the biggest health risk is belly fat,” says Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland. To keep disease risk low, experts say a measurement of under 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is best. Research has found that women who have waists over 37 inches have an 80 percent higher risk of various conditions, including heart disease and cancer. The best way to keep your number in check: Regular exercise — ideally, 45 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three times a week, and three 15-to-20-minute sessions of resistance training.