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Waist Measurements and Ratios - WHtR, WTR, WHR

 Waist Measurements:   Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)
   Waist to Height Ratio WHtR (or Waist to Tallness WTR)
 Weight Measurements:   BMI or Body Mass Index = Weight to Height Ratio
 Track Your Measurements:  Print Your Personal Measurement Log to keep track.


Waist Measurement - Waist Circumference (WC)

Your waist measurement tells a lot about your health. Belly fat is an indicator of your heart health or your health risks. The more fat you have around the middle, the harder it is on your heart. To measure:

 Waist Measurement to Get Back In Shape
Track Your Waist Measurement


Stand and Breathe naturally.

Place the Tape Measure around your waist using your bellybutton as a marker.

Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor, not up higher on one side.
Read your measurement where the tape meets snuggly. Don' t cheat by pulling so tight that the tape digs into your skin.

What Should My Waist Measure?

According to You: On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management by Drs. Oz & Roizen:

  • Women's waist measurement should be under 32.5 to 37 inches  in order to decrease health risks. 
  • Men should measure under 35 to 40 inches, (although diabetes studies suggest 40" may be too high). 
 Waist Measurements (WC)


 Inches:   32.5" to 37"   35" to 40" or less
 Centimeters:  82.55 cm to 93.98 cm   88.9 cm to 101.6 cm or less

According to the  National Institute of Health (NIH), Weight-control Information Network (WIN), waist measurements (WC) identify central obesity with the following measurements:

  • Men — WC Greater than 40 inches (101.6 cm) are obese 
  • Women — WC Greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm) are obese 

Asian men's waists should measure under 32" to 35".

What Waist and Weight Measurement Ratios Are Important?

These ratios are important indicators of your health.

 Waist Measurements:   Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)
   Waist to Height Ratio, WHtR (or Waist to Tallness WTR)
 Weight Measurements:   Weight to Height Ratio = BMI or Body Mass Index
 Track Your Measurements:  Print Your Personal Measurement Log to keep track.

Now that you have your waist measurement, you can use it to calculate your:

  •  Waist to Hip ratio (WHR) 
  •  Waist to Height ratio (WHtR) or your Waist to Tallness ratio (WTR) 

Waist Measurement Ratios 

Use your waist measurement to determine the following ratios:

Waist to Tallness Ratio or Waist to Height Ratio - WTR or WHtR:

Waist to Tallness or Waist to Height ratio is a strong predictor of heart health.
Ideally, you want your waist measurement to be half of your height.

To Calculate your WTR or WHtR:  Divide your waist measurement (in inches or cm) by your height (in inches or cm) = Waist to Tallness Ratio, WTR or Waist to Height Ratio, WHtR

  Waist to Tallness Ratio   Men   Women
  Ideal WHtR or WTR   0.55 or less  0.53 or less

 Men should have a WTR or WHtR of 0.55 or less and Women 0.53 or less. For example, if you are 60" tall (or 5'), your waist should measure 30" or less to keep with the ideal of having your waist measurement half of your height.

To calculate WTR or WHtR here is an example:

If your waist measures 35" and you are 5'6'' tall:

  1. First convert your height into inches - multiply 5 feet x 12 inches = 60", plus 6" = 66". 
  2. To calculate your WTR or WHtR divide your 35" waist by your 66" height = 0.53 which is acceptable for men or borderline for women. Ideally, you would want to decrease your waist to 33" or less making it 1/2 of your 66" height. 

Waist to Hip Ratio - WHR:

The smaller your waist is compared to your hips, the better your health outlook. The waist to hip ratio (WHR) is used less often than the BMI. It is more specific to measuring fat around the middle which is considered predictive of health.

To Measure:
                 Waist - at the narrow part of your waist, at or above the

  Hips - the widest point around the buttocks

To Calculate: Divide waist measurement by hip measurement = WHR

For example, if your waist measures 36" and your hips measure 40" then 36 divided by 40 = .9

Health risks increase with a WHR above .9 for Men and above .85 for Women*. NIH uses less than 1.0 for Men and .8 for Women.

- The higher the ratio, the more of an apple shape that you have which is associated with more heart health risks.

- The lower the ratio, the more of a pear shape you have which is associated with less risk.

The unacceptable categories indicate that you need to emphasize slimming your waistline (not increasing you hip size!)

Results of Waist to Hip Ratio:










< 0.85

0.85 - 0.90

0.90 - 0.95

0.95 - 1.00

> 1.00


< 0.75

0.75 - 0.80

0.80 - 0.85

0.85 - 0.90

> 0.90


Weight Measurements: Weight to Height Ratio = See BMI or Body Mass Index

To measure body fat, an Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester
caliper can be a useful and accurate tool.

Also see how to calculate your body fat percentage.


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