What's Your
Waist to Hip Ratio?

Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator

Your waist-hip ratio is a simple and useful measure of fat distribution and can help determine overall health risk. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is simply the ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips. It measures the proportion by which fat is distributed around the torso.

To properly measure:

  • Use a non-stretchable measuring tape.
  • Tighten the measuring tape without depressing the skin.
  • Measure your waist at its narrowest point, usually just above the belly button.
  • Measure your hips around the widest part of your hip bones.
  • Now do the math!

pear cartoon

Waist to Hip Ratio

cartoon apple
Waist (at narrowest) in.
Hips (at widest) in.
click graphic
apple cartoon cartoon pear

Why does waist to hip ratio matter?

Your health is affected not only by how much body fat you have, but also by where it's located on your body.

You Face Increased Health Risk If...
  Waist to Hip Ratio Waist Circumference
Male > .95 > 40
Female > .80 > 35

Another health indicator relating to body fat is your body mass index. Calculate BMI now.

People with "apple-shaped bodies" (more weight around the waist) are at greater risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure than those with "pear-shaped bodies" (more weight around the hips).

Read a scientific study on waist to hip ratio from the American Journal of Clincal Nutrition.

The apple shape is predominantly a male phenomenon, although women can often develop an apple shape in mid-life, particularly after menopause. This is because female hormones decrease over time, and so our shapes tend to become more "male."

Pear shaped bodies carry extra weight below the waistline, and do not seem to share the same health risks as their apple counterparts. However, even pear shapes should take particular care to keep weight within normal limits to avoid the health problems associated with obesity.

Note: As long as you avoid excess weight, being an apple shaped body or a pear shaped body doesn't put you at special risk!

By itself, waist circumference can be used as a good indicator of abdominal fat. Increased abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. This risk increases with a waist measurement greater than 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.

There is evidence that abdominal fat develops when you are under long-term stress. The hormone cortisol is released during stress, and it seems that high levels of cortisol in the body tend to encourage central fat to accumulate. Take home message...

...manage your stress!

If the results of the waist to hip calculator suggest you need to lose weight, get started today...

...don't wait until Monday! Adjust your attitude and just take it one improvement at a time...

...A journey of 1000 miles starts with just one step. You can do it and I'll be here to help if you need me!

More Personal Nutrition Calculators.

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