Waist to Hip Ratio
What's Your Measurement?
Denial is an American tradition. Over the past 40 years, Americans have been growing progressively larger. Deaths due to complications from obesity are continuing to rise. Unfortunately, everybody seems to think it's someone else who's gaining the weight.
In the results of an obesity study released in August of 2006, 11,000 people were polled. More than 75% of the obese ones claimed to have healthy eating habits. 40% of those same people also said they engaged in "vigorous" exercise at least three times a week.
Looking at those results, it's evident that many people are living in a fantasy world. If that many people truly exercised "vigorously" and ate a healthy diet, then over half the American population wouldn't be clinically obese. Without seeing a doctor, it's easy to keep telling yourself it's everyone else, you don't have a problem.
It's time for you to find out. I'm going to tell you about a simple measurement you can take that will help you determine what kind of condition you're in. You don't need to put on workout clothes, use any kind of strange equipment or run on a treadmill. It doesn't cost money, it's a number you can find out in less than 1 minute, and the results are crystal clear.
It's called your waist-to-hip ratio.
Researchers came up with the test after discovering that just having a little extra weight isn't always a problem. It's how that weight is distributed on your body that can make a big difference.
Younger women tend to be more bottom-heavy. That means they gain weight in their hips, thighs and bottoms. Researchers call this a "pear" shape. As women age and go through menopause, the weight starts to shift and re-distribute around the middle, just like men. (Not coincidentally, it's around menopause that the female death rate for heart disease catches up with men.)
Men tend to have their weight mostly concentrated around the midsection, giving them an "apple" shape. Having an apple shape puts you at higher risk for heart disease than the pear shape, so researchers use the waist-to-hip ratio measurements to determine your body's shape and risk.
If you're ready to find out your waist-to-hip ratio, the only thing you'll need is a tape measure.
How to Measure
Start by measuring the number of inches (or centimeters) around your waist. Men should start and finish at the naval. Women should measure midway between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the hip bone. Measure while standing relaxed, no sucking the belly in!
Then measure the number of inches (or centimeters) around your hips. Men need to measure at the tip of the hip bone. Women should start measuring at the widest point between the hips and buttocks. (See the picture above.)
Now divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. Here's an example: If your waist measures 26 inches around and your hips are 33 inches, you divide 26 by 33. The answer is .78.
Women ideally want to have a waist-to-hip ratio below .80 while men should be below .95. If your number is higher than that, you are at a much higher risk of weight-related health problems, including diabetes, hypertension and heart problems. If you find yourself near or above those dangerous numbers, you need to take steps today to start losing the fat.
Unlike other health-related measurements, the lowest healthy number is not currently known for waist-to-hip ratio. If you are concerned about being underweight, use the Body Mass Index (BMI) test to find out.
Without even considering the ratio, if you're a man and your waistline is 40 inches or more, your risk of heart-related problems is considered high. For women, the cutoff number is 35 inches. Get out a tape measure; find out what your number is. If you're near or above the danger zone, quit making excuses. It's your very life that might be in jeopardy. Start looking into ways to save yourself today.
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beginning any diet or exercise program.