Waist size matters; what’s yours?

Your waist size should measure less than your hips. ( that is, a ratio less than 1)

I started a series about obesity by introducing the concept  of body mass index, BMI.

What is obesity, why does it matter?
BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.
BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.

But physicians also consider another measurement in diagnosing obesity. Simply waist size. Something most of us don’t think about until we want  to buy new clothes, or notice that the old ones don’t fit. But an elevated waist circumference can be a problem for more reasons than making it hard to fasten your seat belt on an airplane. It correlates with a greater risk of the same conditions that elevated BMI is, especially type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.

So how high is too high? In the United States, the following values are used most often.

  • for women, a waist greater than 35 inches (88 centimeters)
  • for men, a waist greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters) 
a tape measure wrapped around an apple

Another related value  is the waist-to-hip ratio; disease risk is increased

for women, if the ratio is greater than 0.85 and for men if greater than 0.9

Or another easy way to remember this is – Your waist size should measure less than your hips. ( that is, a ratio less than 1)

Learn more in this discussion on waist size from Harvard.

Waist Size Matters | Obesity Prevention Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

exploring the HEART of healthy weight management

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