Use the Waist-Hip Ratio to Measure Your Success

How to Calculate Your Waist to Hip Ratio

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Q: What is the waist-hip ratio?

A: It is the circumference (distance around) your waist divided by the distance around your hips.

We have talked extensively about how important it is to find the right measure of success in the business world. The trick is that there are several good measures of success – profits, revenues, sales, etc. And since our bodies are our business, then it would make sense that there be many possible measures of success for our fitness as well.

We have learned that the body mass index (BMI), though a widely used measure of success, may not be the best measure of a person's fatness, especially if they are in excellent shape.

The Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The waist-hip ratio is another easy to calculate measure of success… so to learn more about this ratio, let's go to the tape… measuring tape that is! The waist-hip ratio (often referred to as the waist to hip ratio), is a simple measure that you can do yourself.

I don't think it is a large secret that the body prefers to accumulate fat around the waist, hips and thighs. it's no secret where on the body likes to accumulate – waist, thighs, buttocks, upper arms. Have you ever heard the term "apple" or "pear" shaped? These descriptions help to give you a visual reference for your waist hip ratio. Therefore, another way to assess your current state of physical fitness is by measuring your waist to hip ratio.

Where your body chooses to accumulate this fat is a very important health indicator. People who accumulate more fat around their waist (have a higher waist hip ratio) have a greater risk of health problems such as hypertension, Type II diabetes, and heart disease. This is true even if you compare these people to people who are overweight but whose fat is more uniformly distributed.

Measuring Your Waist Hip Ratio Step by Step

Step 1: Record your waist measurement.

  • Stand normally, exhale, and do not such in your stomach.

  • Measure the distance around your waist at your naval, making sure that the tape measure is parallel to the floor.

  • Write down that number.

    Step 2: Find the widest part of your hips.

  • Measure your hips at their widest point. This is usually around your glute's (butt).

  • Write that number down as well.

    Step 3: Divide the Two to Get the Waist to Hip Ratio.

    Divide the waist measurement number by the hip measurement number. The result is your waist-hip ratio. For example, if you waist measures 37 inches and your hips 43 inches, then divide 37 by 43 and you get a waist- hip ratio of 0.86.

    Once you know your waist to hip ratio, you can use the chart below to find which category your result falls in.

    To determine if your fat burning plan is successful, simply take this measure once every one or two weeks and chart your progress over time. As long as the number is decreasing, you are making great progress!




    Not Healthy/High Risk Worst

    > 1.00

    > 0.85


    0.95 to 1.00

    0.85 to 0.90

    Borderline/Moderate Risk Good

    0.90 to 0.949

    0.80 to 0.849

    Healthy /Low Risk


    0.85 to 0.899

    0.75 to 0.799


    < 0.85

    < 0.75

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