Waist to Hip Ratio:
How you know whether your weight could kill you...
Waist to hip ratio is a relatively new way to judge the risk of health problems caused by your weight. It was brought to the attention of the world by ground breaking research published in the Lancet Medical Journal in November 2005, and should surpass Body Mass Index as the best way to analyze the effect your weight has on your health.
Why is waist to hip ratio so useful?
Until this research was published,
Body Mass Index
(BMI) was broadly relied up on by doctors and others who make decisions about your health (such as insurance companies or national health systems depending on where you live) to decide how dangerous your weight could be to your health.
Body Mass Index can tell you whether you are heavy for your height, but not whether that weight is composed of healthy muscle tissue, heart-threatening fat, or a combination of the two. It also takes no account of body shape.
Waist to hip ratio, however, is different. It's a measurement you can easily do yourself with a tape measure and a calculator. It predicts the risk to your health from a measurement of the amount of abdominal / belly fat you carry.
Abdominal fat is the most dangerous to your health on account of being right next to almost all the vital organs in your body (heart, kidneys, liver etc). Belly fat clogs your liver and interferes with the vital work it does in regulating insulin levels. For this reason, the amount of belly fat you have is a good indicator as to your likelihood of having a heart attack or becoming pre-diabetic or diabetic (approximately 40% of heart attack sufferers are pre-diabetic or diabetic and many are unaware. This may be you. Read on to find out what you can do about it).
How do you calculate your Waist to Hip ratio?
Take a tape measure and without pulling the tape too tight, measure the circumference around your waist at its narrowest point, and the circumference of your hips at their widest point. Then divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. You'll get a number that is somewhere between 0.5 and around 1.5.
How to interpret your Waist to hip ratio?
The latest research shows that, if you're a woman, a waist-to-hip ratio of more than 0.85 is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and diabetes. For men the cut off between low risk and high risk is 0.90.
Did you notice that the waist-to-hip ratio calculation has nothing to do with your weight at all? If you've been obsessed by jumping on the scales, this could be a wake-up call for you. The truth is that obesity and the risks it may pose to you have little to do with what the scales say. How much body fat you have on your body, and specifically how much you have in the abdominal area of your body is what counts. To get a more accurate judgement of how much body fat you may be carrying,
to get a free body fat analysis (it's at the bottom of the page you'll be referred to).
What to do if you're "at risk"?
What you must do is get yourself onto a healthy eating and activity program that attacks not weight, but the amount of body fat which you carry in the long term. Crash dieting (starvation) drops weight initially, but it's very unlikely to significantly lower the amount of body fat you carry. That's because fat is your body's last reserve of energy, and your body doesn't surrender it easily in times of starvation.
There is a way to lose body fat without being hungry or starving yourself. It's much easier than you might think. Sign up for my FREE 4 day online video and audio weight loss program to find out exactly how to reduce your waist to hip ratio safely and easily.
To read more about waist-to-hip ratio,
for an excellent page from the UK's National Health Service, which includes an inspirational video for men (who statistically have more belly fat than women!)