How to measure metabolic health

Markers of insulin resistance

Need to know

There are many body measures of insulin resistance. There are five that are commonly used.

  • Waist circumference (and waist-to-height ratio)
  • Blood glucose
  • Blood lipids (fats): triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol
  • Blood pressure


There is no single easy-to-do test that will identify if a person has insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance causes many changes in the body. A few decades ago, scientific researchers, including Professor Gerald Reaven, discovered some measures of insulin resistance that are easier to test for. By assessing all these measures it is possible to get a reasonable insight into a person's level of insulin resistance.

These markers of insulin resistance are: waist circumference, blood glucose, blood lipids (fats) triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol, and blood pressure.

The measures of insulin resistance vary for different people. For example, insulin resistance will cause high blood pressure in some people whilst in others blood pressure may be perfect.


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