The Waist To Hip Ratio (WHR) is being increasingly used by the medical community as a better indicator of health compared to popular measurements such as BMI.
People that carry more weight in their midsection are known to have an ‘apple’ shape while those who carry excess weight in their legs are known as having a ‘pear’ shape. With respect to health, the apple shape has far more serious health consequences.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has stated that excess abdominal fat is strongly correlated with early heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure – and even cancer.
The issue is that most people envision abdominal fat to be ‘somewhere under the skin’. The truth is that most abdominal fat is ‘visceral’ fat – meaning that it is underneath our muscles and surrounding our vital organs.
The Waist To Hip Ratio is highly instructive for dieters as it helps to focus your energy on what you need to accomplish to stay healthy. The key is to pay attention to our midsection to determine if our diets are truly successful – our health depends on it.
Calculate Your Waist To Hip Ratio
To begin, you will need to measure your waist and hips:
Measure your waist approximately one inch or one centimeter above your navel. If you tend to wear your clothing lower, measure in that location, and only use that measurement if it is larger than the one above your navel.
Measure your hips in as level a manner as possible – standing in front of a mirror helps. Make sure you are measuring across the largest portion of your buttocks in order to have an accurate measurement.
Now input those measurements in the waist to hip calculator below.
WHR for Women
Less than 0.8 – Low risk of health issues
0.8 to 0.89 – Moderate risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer
0.9 or over – High risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer
WHR for Men
Less than 0.9 – Low risk of health issues
0.9 to 0.99 – Moderate risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer
1.0 or over – High risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer
Interesting Facts About The Waist To Hip Ratio
Multiple studies have drawn a strong correlation with the waist to hip ratio:
- Women with a WHR of .7 or less were found to be significantly more fertile than women with a ration of .8 or higher
- Women in the .7 range were found to have optimal levels of estrogen and less risk for cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and ovarian cancer
- Women above .8 were found to have lower pregnancy rates than those below .8
- Men in the .9 range were found to be more fertile with less of a chance of prostate and testicular cancer
- If WHR is used instead of BMI to determine obesity, three times as many people worldwide would be classified as highly likely of experiencing a heart attack
- WHR is more reliable at predicting mortality of older people as opposed to BMI
- Children’s cognitive ability were found to be higher if the mother’s WHR was lower – hip fat was found to provide polyunsaturated fatty acids which helped cognitive development
Pros And Cons Of Waist To Hip Ratio
Waist To Hip Ratio is superior to BMI as it emphasizes the correlation between health and your waistline.
A large number of studies support WHR as an excellent predictor of numerous serious health issues.
The only issue we have with Waist To Hip Ratio is the example where an obese person with a large belly that is dwarfed by even larger hips.
An example is a person with a 50 inch waist and 63 inch hips. In this example the WHR is .79 – hardly a reason for that person to believe they are healthy.
Waist To Hip Ratio is a very reliable indicator of health, and should be embraced by all dieters as an extremely important calculation.
Although Waist To Hips Ratio is a better indicator of health than BMI, we still recommend that dieters look at all calculations to assess their fitness – and use them to determine the appropriate goals for their body.
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