How to Find Your Waist to Hip Ratio

How to Find Your Waist to Hip Ratio


Jessica Matthews, Exercise Scientist: Let’s discuss a few simple ways that you can assess your health risk at home using nothing more than a tape measure. So, for our purposes today, it’s actually recommended that you utilize a spring-loaded tape measure like this one you see here. Now, if you don’t have a spring-loaded tape measure at home, you can use one of these if you have that available. The first measurement we’re going to talk about is body mass index, also known as BMI. BMI describes the relationship between body weight and height, and since it cannot determine actual body composition, research has shown that this measurement can be somewhat limited in terms of its accuracy. For example, individuals who are extremely muscular would score high on a BMI chart, inaccurately categorizing those individuals as being overweight or obese. Studies indicate that compared to BMI, waist circumference is more accurate in regards to predicting cardiovascular disease risk. Waist circumference can be measured at the midpoint between the lowest rib and the iliac crest. Unsure what the iliac crest is? It essentially acts as the main hipbone. It can be felt by putting your hand at the lowest rib bones and simply sliding it down the abdomen until you reach the top of the pelvic region. Research has shown that waist circumference is effective in identifying cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk. Here is a table that shows the criteria for waist circumference in adults. For accuracy, it’s important that the measurement is taken at the end of expiration, at the point when the diaphragm is in its neutral position. It’s also important to keep the tape measure snug, but not too tight that it presses into the subcutaneous layers. Another measurement that can be used, and research has shown to be the superior clinical measurement for predicting cardiovascular disease mortality, is the waist-to-hip ratio. For this assessment, the hip measurement should be taken at the greatest circumference of the buttocks. You’ll then find the waist-to-hip ratio by taking the waist measurement you completed earlier and divide it by the hip measurement. This table shows the waist-to-hip ratio norms. For the waist circumference and the waist-to-hip ratio, for accuracy, you want to ensure that you’re completing the measurement at the same landmark each time. It’s also helpful to complete multiple measurements at the same site, but to ensure that you allow at least 20 to 30 seconds between repeat measurements to allow the skin and subcutaneous tissue to return to its normal state. Research has shown that these measurements demonstrate a strong correlation between health, morbidity, and mortality. But it should be noted that they serve only as an estimation of body composition and fitness level. For a more three-dimensional view of the makeup of the body, especially if you have weight-loss goals, consider enlisting the help of an ACE-certified personal trainer who can provide additional assessments, such as skin-fold measurements, to more accurately assess your body composition. To find an ACE-certified trainer in your area, visit our website: www.acefitness.org/getfit. And we’ll see you next time.

30 comments on “How to Find Your Waist to Hip Ratio

  1. Jim McCarthy Post author

    I find the difference between low and high to be unsatisfactory. So if I have a 38 waist I'm low risk but an inch and a half later I'm in the high risk category. Is seems as though there should be a moderate risk section.

    Reply
  2. MissLalaland89 Post author

    Smallest part of your waist. Where the indentations are (if you have those of course) πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. prettythings89 Post author

    I really don't understand why we measure the smallest part of our waist and not the largest part of the stomach. In my case the difference is 13 cm!!! So is stomach fat not dangerous so long as it's placed below the waist? That makes no sense.

    Reply
  4. chris merwin Post author

    It was good to know there are several options to determine cardiovascular disease risk outside of BMI which has limited accuracy. I agree it is essential to measure in the same location every time to ensure measurements are accurate.

    Reply
  5. Dabayare Post author

    For us men, we measure the waist along the belly button. Our hips are also measured at the hip bones(the top part when you are going down from the belly button). For women, it seems you measure them from the narrowest point of their waist to the widest part of their booty.

    Reply
  6. Karina Agudo Post author

    I don't get how hip to waist ratio can be accurate. I use to weigh 165, and I'm 5'4. My hip to waist ratio was .78 (which supposedly means I'm good. My hips measured at 42 inch and my waist at 33 inch.. I was pretty over wight. I could even see the fat. I recently became vegan (3-4 months ago) and I've lost 15 pounds, lost 2 inches from my hips and one inch from my waist. I look healthier, and feel better, but according to the hip to waist ratio I am now at a .80… how is this possible? Ive lost a couple of inches… I don't get it…

    Reply
  7. Kathleen L.A Post author

    i'm biggest at the mid-point, i thought the hips were higher, i have a similar body type to the girl in the video in terms or born structure and she looks biggest where it showed at the mid-point i thought those bones sticking out were the hips, it looks more like you were measuring waist to butt ratio as opposed to waist to hip.

    Reply
  8. Jazmin Ennis Post author

    I like how the video explains how to use a measure. I want to start using it so I can see how much I weight without spending a lot of money

    Reply
  9. littleMschat Post author

    But why do some people say the waist is at the belly button? My belly button is just above the lialac crest

    Reply
  10. Ahmed Faraz Post author

    For male take meaurnemt from belly button and for female take meaurnment from 2 inch above belly button.

    Reply
  11. Ellie McGrath Post author

    1:19 is that chart referring to your waist or your midpoint? Why would it be about your waist? Everyone has a small waist. It's the midpoint that's the fattest part.

    Reply
  12. Harley S. Burgundy Post author

    When my mom said I was getting β€œtoo thick” I measured my BMI, my BMR, and my W->H ratio.
    All three showed up as me being completely healthy.
    WTF mom.

    Reply

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