Your waist circumference can help you figure out if you have a lot of fat around your stomach and if you’re at risk for health problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, a large waist circumference is linked to an increased risk of hypertension, high blood lipids, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
It’s possible to have an excessively high waist circumference even if your BMI says you’re at a healthy weight. Waist circumference, on the other hand, is an excellent technique to estimate your risk if you’re muscular and have a high BMI but suspect you have a lower body fat percentage.
- Less than 35 inches for women
- Less than 40 inches for men
Follow these methods to get an accurate waist circumference measurement:
- Determine the location of your upper hip bone: Placing your hands around your waist, gripping slightly, and then moving your fingers downward till you feel the top curve of your hips can help you discover the right location.
- Measure your bare stomach just above the upper hip bone with a tape measure: Ensure that the measuring tape is parallel to the ground (slanting can falsely increase your measurement). Make sure the tape measure is snug on your body but not so tight that it crushes your skin. While measuring, exhale and relax your abdomen — no sucking in!
After you’ve calculated your waist circumference, you may calculate your waist-to-hip ratio, which compares the size of your hips to your waist circumference. Your risk of heart disease is lower the smaller your waist is compared to your hips. Your waist-to-hip ratio is a significant measurement, even if you’re overweight and have a large waist circumference.
If you have a high waist circumference but a low waist-to-hip ratio, you may be at a lower risk of heart disease than someone who has both a high waist circumference and a high waist-to-hip ratio.
Keep in mind that the waist-to-hip ratio is especially essential for people of average weight. This measurement is a great technique to see if you’re accumulating too much weight in your abdomen.
To estimate your waist-to-hip ratio, follow these steps:
- Measure the circumference of your hips with a tape measure: First, locate the broadest part of your buttocks in a mirror. Then, using the tape measure, measure the circumference of your hips and buttocks around this point.
- Calculate your waist-to-hip ratio by dividing your waist circumference by your hip circumference using your waist circumference measurement: After you’ve calculated your waist-to-hip ratio, utilize the table below to establish your risk level.