How to Measure Your Waist and Hips
- Remove your shirt and loosen your belt.
- Feel for the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the hip bone.
- Maneuver the tape against your skin to the narrowest natural place. This is usually mid-way between the top of your hip bone and the bottom of the rib cage, not your belly button.
- Relax your stomach.
- Pull the tape so it is horizontal, and flat against your skin. That is your waist measurement.
- Loosen your belt.
- Maneuver the tape against your skin so it is on top of each hip bone.
- Make sure it is level.
- Pull the tape so it is flat against your skin. That is your hip measurement.
How to Interpret Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR)
Your waist-to-hip ratio should be below 0.8 for a woman and below 1.0 for a man.
Your waist should be less than 35 inches (88 cm) for a woman, and less than 40 inches (102 cm) for a man.
- Your WHR measures how your body fat is distributed.
- WHR is a better predictor of calcification of the arteries than your waist measurement or BMI.
- WHR predicts heart disease and hardening of the arteries before they cause symptoms, better than how much you weigh or what your waist is.
- Your waist measurement tells you how much abdominal fat—beneath the surface—you have.
- Too much fat beneath the surface of your waist is an active, hormone-producing organ in the body.
- Your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are greater as these measurements rise.
The Association of Differing Measures of Overweight and Obesity With Prevalent Atherosclerosis. J Am Coll Cardiol, 2007; 50:752-759,