Belly Fat Measurement & Weight Management: Waist Circumference

Waist circumference is a measurement of belly fat. Excess fat in the belly is associated with an increased risk of certain conditions or diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.

How to Measure Waist Circumference 

Place a tape measure around your abdomen, just above your hip bone. The tape measure should be snug, but not pressing into your skin. Make sure you exhale just before your waist circumference is measured, so you can be sure you're not holding your stomach in.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio 

Waist-to-hip ratio is a calculation of the size of your belly compared to the size of your hips. People with high waist-to-hip ratios are also at increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

To get your waist-to-hip ratio, divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference.

How to Measure Hip Circumference 

Hip circumference is measured the same way as waist circumference, but the measuring tape is placed around the widest part of the buttocks.

What Waist Circumference and Waist-to-Hip Ratio Measurements Means for Weight Management

  • A healthy waist measurement is 35 or less for women and 40 or less for men.
  • A healthy waist-to-hip ratio is 0.8 or less for women and 0.95 or less for men.

If you have a high waist circumference measurement or a high waist-to-hip ratio, you may want to ask your doctor for help losing weight. Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce your risk of diabetes or heart disease.

Decreasing Your Waist Circumference 

In order to decrease your waist circumference, you'll need to take steps to lose weight, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising more.

At Wake Forest Baptist Health, you'll have access to a team of health care professionals who can help you to lose weight. Your team may include heart or vascular specialists, nurse specialists, nutritionists and others.

Request an Appointment with a Heart & Vascular Center physician today.

Learn more about Wake Forest Baptist's Weight Management Center.

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Last Updated: 07-23-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.