Your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a quick, inexpensive measure of abdominal fat. It gives you a good sense of your current risk of insulin resistance and future risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Excess abdominal fat is troublesome because it’s hormonally active, proinflammatory, and a key factor in metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions including increased blood pressure, blood-sugar imbalances, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Metabolic syndrome is also associated with an increased risk for many inflammatory diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.
1. Measure Your Body
- Stand relaxed with feet close together.
- Measure your waist by wrapping a tape measure around yourself at the height of your belly button (or, for lean people, at the smallest point of the waist).
- Measure your hips at their widest point, generally right below your pelvic bones and around your butt.
- Calculate your WHR with the following formula: waist____ / hip____ = _____ (WHR)
2. Assess Your Results
- A WHR of more than 0.8 for a woman or 0.9 for a man signals that you may have too much belly fat.
3. Take Action
- Concerned? See a health practitioner for a thorough assessment of your risk factors. Lifestyle changes (nutrition, activity, sleep, and stress management) are among the most effective ways to improve WHR and reduce your health risks.