The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a quick and easy way to measure fat distribution that may help indicate a person’s overall health. People who carry more weight around their middle than their hips may be at a higher risk of developing certain health conditions.
Waist-to-hip ratio, or waist-hip ratio, is the circumference of the waist divided by the circumference of the hips.
One way to know is by measuring body mass index (BMI), which calculates the ratio of your weight to your height and another is WHR, which measures the ratio of your waist circumference to your hip circumference. It calculates how much fat is stored on your waist, hips, and buttocks. Not all obese or overweight people have the same health status or health risks.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), a healthy WHR is 0.9 or less in men and 0.85 or less for women. In both men and women, a WHR of 1.0 or more increases the risk of heart disease and other conditions that are linked to being overweight or obese.
How to calculate your waist-to-hip ratio?
You can figure out your WHR on your own, or take the help of your doctor. To measure it yourself:
- Stand up straight and exhale. To measure waist circumference, use an inch tape measure to check the distance around the smallest part of your waist, just above your belly button. Measure the distance around the largest part of your buttocks— the widest part of your buttocks. This is your hip circumference.
- Finally, calculate your WHR by dividing your waist circumference by your hip circumference.
How it affects health?
People who have an apple-shaped body or carry more weight around their midsection are at higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature death than those who have a pear-shaped body or carry more of their weight in their hips and thighs. Even if your BMI is within a normal range, your risk for the disease may be higher which is determined by WHR.
These health conditions and risks include:
- Type 2 diabetes: An increased waist circumference was linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Risk of developing cardiovascular disease: Abdominal obesity increased the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The WHR predicted cardiovascular disease better and more effectively than BMI or waist circumference. WHR is a better indicator of the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease than waist circumference alone.
- Fertility issues: Women with a WHR of over 0.80 have reduced chances of pregnancy than those with a lower WHR, regardless of their BMI.
Over to you
Waist hip ratio is an inexpensive way to check how much weight you carry around your middle portion of the body. It’s just one of the measures — along with BMI — that you can use to evaluate your weight and health. Consult your doctor before deriving any conclusion from the WHR ratio.