WAIST HIP RATIO: WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH?

CONTENT

INTRODUCTION

HOW TO MEASURE THE HIP WAIST HIP RATIO

HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF THE WAIST HIP RATIO

 

INTRODUCTION

This is calculated as the measurement of the waist circumference divided by the measurement of the hip circumference. It is an indicator of one’s risk of developing serious health conditions either male or female. I.e. Waist circumference /hip circumference.

 

HOW TO MEASURE THE WAIST HIP RATIO?

Stand upright with both feets together and your arms placed by your sides in a straight line, ensuring that your weight is well balanced. Allow a partner to take the measurements of your waist and your hip as described below.

The waist is referred to a point that is just midway between the ribs and the hips. In most cases, it is the smallest area below the ribs and above the hips.  According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the waist should be measured with a tight fitting tape placed midway between the lowest palpable rib and the top of the hip bone circumferentially. But In practice, because this is tedious, most people measure the waist circumference at a point just above the navel often but not always coinciding with the smallest diameter of the waist. The hip circumference should be measured at the level of the widest diameter of the buttocks with the tape parallel to the floor.

Each measurement should be taken twice and if the difference between the two measurement is less than 1 cm, then the average of both measurements should be used but if more than 1cm, then the measurements should be discarded and the whole process repeated. To calculate your waist hip ratio click on WHR Check.

IMPLICATION OF THE HIP WAIST RATIO ON YOUR HEALTH

According to the WHO, abdominal obesity is defined as the Waist-Hip ratio of greater than 0.85 in women and 0.9 in men. Different organizations and countries have different values for abdominal obesity based on the observed risk of health hazards in their general population Above this value, a high correlation of various diseases such as Diabetes, hypertension, stroke and various cancers have been noticed. In respect to fertility, women with waist hip ratio of 0.7 to 0.79 have been shown to be more fertile with a higher pregnancy rate irrespective of their BMI than those with a waist hip ratio of 0.8 and above. This is also true of risk of other serious medical disorders such as hypertension, ovarian cancer and diabetes. A similar trend is seen among men with a waist hip ratio of less than 0.9 who are noticed to be generally healthier, more fertile and associated with a lesser risk of prostrate and testicular cancer compared with those with a ratio of 0.9 and above. The Waist Hip ratio is considered to be a more accurate parameter of predicting the various health risks of an individual compared to the BMI. This is because it takes into account the exact distribution of fat in the body. Women are often divided into various body shapes based on the the distribution of fat in their body specifically around their burst, their waist and their hips. Research shows that women with “apple-shaped” bodies whose fat are more disributed around the waist than their hips are prone to significantly more health risks than those with pear shaped bodies, whose fats are more distributed around their hips. Hence, we encourage all women to endeavour that their waist hip ratio is less than 0.85 and if desirous of pregnancy less than 0.8.

 

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REFERENCES

1.  Waist Circumference and Waist–Hip Ratio: Report of a WHO Expert Consultation Geneva, 8–11 December 2008.

2.  Singh D "Female mate value at a glance: relationship of waist-to-hip ratio to health, fecundity and attractiveness". Neuro Endocrinol. Lett. 23. Suppl 4: 81–91. Dec 2012. PMID 12496738.

3.  Marlowe F, Apicella C, Reed D. Men's preferences for women's profile waist-to-hip ratio in two societies. Evolution and Human Behavior. 26(6): 458–68. 2005.