Your waist to hip ratio is an important tool that helps you determine your overall health risk. People with more weight around their waist are at greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips. It is a simple and useful measure of fat distribution.
Use a measuring tape to check the waist and hip measurements.
- Measure your hip circumference at it's widest part.
- Measure your Waist Circumference at the belly button or just above it.
The Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator indicates your probable health risks. People with more weight around the waist, face more health risks than people who carry more weight around their hips.
Waist to Hip Ratio Chart
Male Female Health Risk Based Solely on WHR
0.95 or below 0.80 or below Low Risk
0.96 to 1.0 0.81 to 0.85 Moderate Risk
1.0+ 0.85+ High Risk
Your health is not only affected by how much body fat you have, but also by where most of the fat is located on your body. People who tend to gain weight mostly in their hips and buttocks have roughly a pear body shape, while people who tend to gain weight mostly in the abdomen have more of an apple body shape.
If you have an apple shaped body rather than a pear shaped body, you are at increased risk for the health problems associated with obesity, such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure - that's something you inherited, and have had since birth - but you can take special care to keep your weight at a healthy level, eat nutritiously, exercise as appropriate, and maintain other healthy lifestyle habits.
As long as you avoid excess weight, being an apple shaped body or a pear shaped body doesn't put you at special risk - it's just one of those things to keep in mind. And even pear shaped people should take particular care to keep their weight within normal limits, to avoid the health problems associated with obesity.
The apple body shape (body fat is stored around the middle - i.e. abdomen, chest and surround internal organs, such as the heart) is linked with health problems such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and gall bladder disease.
The shape is predominantly a male phenomenon; although women are more prone to develop an apple shape in mid-life, particularly after menopause. This is because the female hormones are present in much smaller amounts and so the shape tends to become more 'male'.
There is also evidence that abdominal fat develops when you are under long-term stress. The hormone cortisol is released during stress, and it seems that high levels of cortisol in the body tend to encourage central fat to accumulate. Researchers at Yale University studied 60 women and found that the more stress they were under, the more fat they stored around their stomach.
In other words, the people most likely to develop an apple body shape are stressed men of any age, and older stressed women.
The apple shaped body effect can be minimized with a sensible diet, regular exercise and stress-reduction techniques
People with a Pear Body Shape have hips wider than their shoulders because their bodies store fat there and on the thighs. Pear shaped bodies carry their extra weight below the waistline, and do not seem to have as high a risk of developing health problems like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, ... than people with an Apple Body Shape.
Pear shaped people usually lose fat in the upper body, so their overall shape doesn't change much when they lose weight.
With time, as insulin resistance worsens, people who store fat below the belt will start accumulating it above the belt too and they will start experiencing all of the more immediate health threatening problems their apple shaped friends likely experience right now.