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Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR)

The Ratio of Waist-to-Hips (or just simply waist-hip ratio, WHR ) is a ratio, shown to be a good predictor of possible cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke, or other vascular disease, in both men and women. It has been shown that the WHR is a better predictor than waist measurement alone, which is a better predictor than the body mass index.

How to measure the WHR

To calculate the Waist to Hip Ratio, the waist and hip measurements should be taken at their narrowest and widest points respectively as described below:

1. For men, measure the waist at the navel and hips at the tip of the hip bone.

2. For women, measure the waist midway between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the hip bone and hips at the widest point between the hips and buttocks.

3. Type these measurements into the calculator below to calculate the Waist to Hip Ratio.

Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator

Enter your waist size
  in cm or inches
Enter your hip size
  in cm or inches
 Waist to hip ratio =   
WHR health predictor =   

What does the Waist to Hip Ratio mean?

Health is not only affected by how much body fat you have, but also by where most of the fat is located on your body. Most people store body fat in two distinct ways, around your middle (apple shape) or around your hips (pear shape). It is generally accepted that, carrying extra weight around your middle increases health risks associated with obesity, such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. However overall obesity, is still a significant health risk. The recognition of central obesity is very important, as lifestyle intervention is likely to provide significant health benefits.

Waist to Hip Ratio Chart

MaleFemaleVascular Health Risk Based on WHR
less than 0.9less than 0.80Low Risk
0.9 to 0.990.8 to 0.89Moderate Risk
1.0+0.9+High Risk

Reference: Welborn T.A. et al. Waist-hip ratio is the dominant risk factor predicting cardiovascular death in Australia. Medical Journal of Australia 1/15 December 2003;179:580-585

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