We often focus on weight and BMI as an indicator of our health when thinking about embarking on healthy eating plans and adopting a healthier lifestyle. However, weight is only one indicator of your risks and other indicators may actually be more accurate.
The Waist-to-Hip ratio is an excellent predictor that can inform you about your risks of developing illnesses and disease. Used in conjunction with our other calculators, you can get a much more accurate overall picture of your current and future health.
Using our Waist-to-Hip Calculator is an essential tool in assessing your healthy meal plan needs.
Calculate Your Waist-to-hip Ratio
What Is Waist-to-hip Ratio?
The Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) is simply the circumference of the waist divided by the circumference of the hips. It measures the fat distribution in your body.
The WHR is a quick and easy way to calculate whether you could be at risk of any health issues. Experts have suggested that if WHR is used alongside BMI (Body Mass Index) and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculations you will get a very strong picture of your health. This is because where you are carrying excess weight matters.
How to Calculate Your Waist-To-Hip Ratio
To calculate your WHR you will need to measure your waist and hips with a tape measure. It is easy to do this in the comfort of your own home and it will only take a few minutes. Make sure that you take the measurements carefully using the tape under your clothes. You may find it easier to have someone assist you.
For men, the waist measurement should be taken around the navel at the widest part of the abdomen. Women should measure their waist at the narrowest part of their abdomen.
For the hips, the tape should go around the widest part of the hips and include your buttocks. Do not pull the tape too tightly. Once you have collected your data you can input the details into our calculator. The calculator divides your waist measurement by your hip measurement.
What do your WHR Results show?
The following table breaks down the risks associated with a higher waist to hip ratio.
Female Male Health Risk
0.80 or lower 0.95 or lower Low Health Risk
0.81 to 0.84 0.96 to 1.0 Moderate Risk
0.85 or higher 1.0 or higher High Risk
Pear-shaped people have a lower waist to hip ratio and are at a lower risk of developing health problems like heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. Women may also have fewer fertility problems.
The people most at risk of health problems have ratios of over 0.85 for women and over 1 for men. Their apple-shaped bodies have fat gathered around their abdomen and this fat is associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
The people in the middle are often referred to as “avocados” and they still have a moderate risk of developing health problems. The World Health Organisation defines abdominal obesity as having a WHR of above 0.90 for men and 0.85 for women. They are in the high-risk category for developing health issues.
Why is Abdominal Fat Bad?
The WHO advises that a very high WHR of over 1.0 may increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes even if your weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) is in the normal range.
Abdominal fat poses a particular risk. The visceral fat that sits around your organs in your abdomen is associated with metabolic disturbances and a higher than average risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it can also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and gallbladder problems.
Research in 2008 looked at data from 44,000 women over a period of 16 years. The conclusion was that women with a bigger waist circumference were more at risk of dying from heart disease and cancer than those with a smaller waist. In fact, women with waists measuring more than 35 inches had double the risk than women with a waist size of fewer than 28 inches.
The WHO has found recently that your WHR is the most accurate indicator of your potential health risks and is better than BMI or waist circumference alone.
Hormones and Ageing
We have all heard of the term “middle-aged spread” and unfortunately, it is true that our body shape changes as we age. Often our pear body shape will become more apple-shaped as we get older. This is because changes to our body mean that more fat is stored in our abdominal area. Some of the changes are natural and out of our control whilst some lifestyle changes can really make a difference.
Studies show that menopause (the cessation of periods) often leads to a larger WHR due to changes in the balance of hormones. This is independent of an increase in weight and suggests that there is a change in fat distribution as oestrogen levels lower, therefore, moving fat storage to the abdomen rather than the buttocks. This fat is made up of subcutaneous fat which sits under the skin in your abdomen and visceral fat which accumulates around your organs in your abdomen.
Ageing men also tend to accumulate more fat around their abdomen as their testosterone levels decline and their hip circumference often decreases due to a redistribution of fat. Therefore, their WHR will also increase.
Whilst you cannot change these factors associated with ageing you can help reduce your WHR by changing to a healthier lifestyle including following healthy meal plans which reduce your calorie intake and give you a good balance of nutrients that will increase your overall fat loss.
What Can You Do to Reduce Your WHR?
Whatever your age, in order to reduce your WHR, you will need to reduce your abdominal fat and reduce your waist circumference. You will find many diets that claim to “reduce belly fat”. The truth is that you are not able to target your abdominal fat with particular foods or by doing special exercises.
The best way to reduce your WHR and your abdominal fat is to lose overall body fat and to do this you need to follow a healthy lifestyle and create a calorie deficit. . This means eating healthily and doing regular moderate exercise. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day including some strength training will improve your fitness and increase your fitness levels.
Your diet should replace unhealthy simple carbohydrates such as white bread and sugary food with healthy complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and grains. Along with lean protein rather than saturated fats, you will see a difference in your WHR.
The easiest way to ensure that you follow a healthy eating plan is to follow healthy meal plans such as Dubai meal plans which will encourage you to eat the right balance of healthy food to satisfy your hunger but help you to lose fat (and weight).