Waist Circumference

waist_measurementA high waist circumference is associated with an increased risk for heart disease. It increases ones risk for adult onset diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure too. Waist circumference is a more accurate assessment of an individual’s risk than a body mass index (BMI).

When the BMI is greater than 25 a person is considered overweight. When a BMI is greater than 30 a person is considered obese. There are many athletes who fall into the overweight or obese category per BMI; but, have a normal waist circumference. Thus, these individuals are not at increased risk as indicated by their waist measurement.

Changes in waist circumference over time can indicate an increase or decrease in abdominal fat. Increased abdominal fat increases one’s risk for heart disease and many other ailments. It affects almost every organ system.



How do you measure your waist circumference?

Locate your upper hip bones, place the tape on the top of the upper hip bone around the abdomen, and around the top of the other hip bone. the tape measure should be snug but should not cause compressions on the skin and should be parallel with the floor.

What should my waist circumference be?

If you are Caucasian, African-American or Hispanic, we recommend the waist circumference to be half your height in inches.

For example: If you are 5 feet, 10 inches tall, you are 70 inches. We would recommend your waist circumference to be 35 inches or less for optimal health. (1/2 your height in inches).

Certain populations have smaller waists and can still be at risk under the standard waist circumference goals. Therefore, the following chart should assist you in knowing your waist circumference goals:

Men Women
European > 94 cm (37.0 in) > 80 cm (31.5 in)
South Asian > 90 cm (35.4 in) > 80 cm (31.5 in)
Chinese > 90 cm (35.4 in) > 80 cm (31.5 in)
Japanese > 85 cm (33.5 in) > 90 cm (35.4 in)

How do I decrease my waist circumference?

No magic here. Eat healthy, participate in aerobic exercise, and lose some weight.

The first step to healthy eating is to avoid the processed foods, simple carbohydrates and simple sugars life tends to throw at you. Learn more about good nutrition guidelines.

The best exercise to reduce waist circumference is a good aerobic workout. Examples include fast walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking, aerobic class such as kickboxing, jazzercise, etc.

Learn more about getting the most from your workout.

We all should complete aerobic activity daily; but, if we are already bulging at the waist line…we can’t afford to miss it.