What Your Waist Says About Your Health

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) — Is your weight causing problems for your life…or lifestyle?  Some people aren’t sure.  Do scales tell the whole story?  Although widely used as a calculator for idea weight, BMI or a measure of your body mass index is not a definitive measure, either.  Perhaps your family and friends tell you that you look just fine and you don’t need to lose any weight.  Still, you wonder… Is there a quick way to get an accurate answer to the question: Is my weight affecting my health?  If a look in the morning mirror doesn’t tell you or perhaps you are trying to access your current health status, your waist-to-hip ratio will provide the answer.

The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is an indicator of health and also an indicator of the increased risk of developing serious health conditions. Research has shown that people who carry more weight around their waist are at greater risk than those who carry more around their hips.  WHR is used as a measurement of obesity.

Several studies have found that the waist circumference alone provides a good indicator of cardiovascular risk factors, distribution of body fat and hypertension.

The World Health Organization defines abdominal obesity as a WHR above 0.95 for males and above 0.80 for females, or a body mass index (BMI) above 30.0.  The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases say that women with WHR above 0.80 and men above 1.0 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution.

“When it comes to older people, WHR has been found to be a better predictor of mortality than waist circumference alone or BMI.  In fact, if obesity were redefined using WHR instead of BMI, the number of people classified in the high-risk category of heart attack would be three times higher.  Body fat percentage (BF%) is a more accurate measure of relative weight and would also greatly increase the number of people classified as obese,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged.

Griesel adds, “When considering BMI, WHR and BF%, the WHR is simple and accurate because takes account of the differences in body structure with just 2 measurements. This is important because it is possible for two people to have vastly different BMI’s but the same WHR, or to have the same BMI but vastly different WHR’s.  The same can be said for BMI and BF% numbers.”

Determining your WHR is really quite simple:  Take your waist and hip measurements at their respective widest points.  Waist measurements should be taken after a full exhale at the navel level or an inch above (whichever is higher).  Then divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement and you will have your WHR.  For example; if your waist is 38 inches and your hips measurement is 38, your WHR is 1.0; if your waist is 38 and your hips are 36, your WHR is 1.06.

Remember, if you are a woman your WHR should be less than .8 and men should be less than .95.  It is worthwhile noting that in ancient civilization depictions, female representations most often fall in the 0.6-0.7 range for WHR.

How many people do you know that have potbellies?  Perhaps you are one of them.  Regardless of what you think about your current weight, if your WHR is higher than the recommended limits, you are asking for trouble if you don’t do something about it.

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