What Is a Healthy Waist Size? How to Measure Your Waist
When thinking about your motivation for losing weight, your biggest concern may be how you look – both in and out of clothes. Yet, excess weight can also have an effect on your health. In particular, when you carry too much weight around your middle, it can put you at risk for certain health problems.
In this way, your waist size is linked to your health. By measuring your waist size in one of two ways, you may be able to determine your risk of developing certain conditions, like cardiovascular disease. You can then take steps to drop pounds and reduce your waist size if needed.
The Ideal You weight loss program is one way to lose weight in a safe, sustainable way. By changing your metabolism, you will be able to burn fat instead of storing it – including that stubborn fat around your waist.
Why Carrying Weight Around Your Middle Can Put Your Health at Risk
Your waist is the part of your body between the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your rib cage. Depending on your genetics, body frame and lifestyle, the size of your waist may be bigger or smaller. Getting an accurate measurement of your waist size is an important way to stay on top of your health.
Generally, a larger waistline is associated with carrying more abdominal (or visceral) fat, which is considered the most dangerous type of fat. While the reasons why are complex, scientists believe that abdominal fat cells produce hormones and other substances that can affect our health and increase our risk of certain diseases. This type of fat is also located near the portal vein, which carries blood to the liver; the substances released by abdominal fat cells may be carried to the liver and increase the production of blood lipids, leading to higher cholesterol levels.
Carrying too much weight around your middle is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. People with an “apple-shaped” body – with fat accumulating more around the middle – tend to have more abdominal fat than people with “pear-shaped bodies,” (where the fat accumulates more around the hips and thighs). According to the Nurses’ Health Study, a larger waistline can double the risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, and other causes.
What Is a Healthy Waist Size for My Body?
Women and men have different standards for healthy waist sizes. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a person with waist size of above 40 inches for men and above 35 inches for women is considered to have abdominal obesity. The International Diabetes Federation has an even stricter definition of abdominal obesity: above 35 inches for men and 31.5 inches for women.
The World Health Organization (WHO) offers a third definition, which is based on waist-to-hip ratio. Rather than simply relying on your waist measurement, this involves measuring your hips as well, and then determining the ratio between the two numbers. This standard defines abdominal obesity as a waist-to-hip ratio of greater than 0.85 for women and 0.9 for men. Below, we will explain how to calculate your waist-to-hip ratio.
Of course, each person is built differently. A relatively petite woman may be able to achieve a smaller waist size than a woman with a larger frame. As with other standards, like body mass index (BMI), a person can still be healthy even if they don’t fit into these standardized guidelines. However, there is no question that reducing your waist size can improve your health and lower the chances of developing serious disease.
Measuring Waist Size: A How-To Guide
There are two ways to determine your health risk based on your waist size: (1) your waist circumference and (2) your waist-to-hip ratio. While there is some debate about which measurement is better, scientists agree that either one will predict your risk of developing certain conditions, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Both types start with getting a measurement of your waist circumference. To do this, you will need a tape measure. Start by removing or lifting up clothes from around your middle that may skew your measurements. Then find your waistline, and exhale normally. Wrap the tape measure around your waist, making sure that it isn’t too tight or too loose. Then record the measurement.
If you want to determine your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), repeat the process above, but move the tape measure to your hips, going around the widest point of your buttocks. Once you have these two numbers, simply divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference. For example, if your waist is 40 inches and your hips are 48 inches, then your waist-to-hip ratio (40 divided by 48) would be 0.83. This puts you in a healthy range for WHR.
Keep in mind that these measurements are just one way to evaluate your health and well-being. If you are concerned about the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease or another condition, schedule a check-up with your doctor.
How Can I Decrease My Waist Size?
Despite what some diet and exercise companies may have you believe, you cannot “spot reduce” any part of your body. Instead, the best way to reduce your waist size – and therefore your health risks – is by focusing on your overall health and dropping weight.
The most effective way to lose weight isn’t to go on a crash diet, or to exercise for hours a day. Instead, you need a more comprehensive strategy that addresses the factors that lead to weight gain, such as dehydration, lack of sleep, the type of food that you eat, and other imbalances in your body.
With Ideal You, you can lose weight in a healthy way. It starts with a free consultation, where we will perform a body composition analysis and talk to you about how our program may help. If you decide to work with us, you’ll get a structured food list, all-natural food-based supplements, weigh-ins and meetings with a weight loss coach, and support from a team of weight loss experts.
We won’t ask you to drink pre-packaged shakes, buy expensive (gross) diet food, or work out endlessly. Instead, you’ll eat real food and train your body to burn fat instead of sugar or carbohydrates. As you start to lose weight, you’ll likely see a reduction in your waist size as well – and find yourself in much better health.
Ready to Change Your Life? Reach Out Today.
While you can absolutely be healthy at any size, losing weight – particularly around your midsection – can lower your risk of developing certain conditions. Reducing your waist size can be difficult. Ideal You is here to help.
We know that losing weight is often a struggle. Our goal is to make weight loss a simple, safe, and sustainable process. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with Ideal You Health Center, give us a call at 888-488-7258, or book a consultation online.