What are the “perfect” measurements? What is the human average waist size? Is my belly healthy? We have all heard that a woman is sexy when she is 36-24-36. This may not always be the case. Your body’s measurements should be viewed as ratios. Every person has a unique starter build (bone structure). From that we can build into our own version of what we perceive as healthy bodies.
For most of us it will be how large our waist is. There is no accurate answer for the “average” waist size. A person who is 6’2″ could have the same waist measurement as a person who is 5’4″, but be far thinner. What you need to measure is your waist hip ratio.
Waist Hip Ratio is calculated by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement. (Hips are the widest part of your butt).
Ideally, women should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.8 or less.
Ideally, men should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.95 or less.
From a non measurement stand point, if your waist is smaller then your hips, you have a healthy waist line.
Let’s look at our 36-24-36 woman. Her waist to hip ratio is:
She is well below the .8
Some factors to consider, if you have very large hips, the test is still useful for determining your heart health. Having an apple shape (carrying extra weight around the stomach) is riskier for your health than having a pear shape (carrying extra weight around your hips or thighs). This is because body shape and health risk are linked. If you have more weight around your waist you have a greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips.
Monitoring your body shape is a very important factor in a healthy lifestyle.
Health News: “Tape measure, not scale, shows heart risk”
On Monday, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center announced that waist measurement is much more indicative of predicting heart disease than weight. Even if a person is not overweight, those who have larger waistlines have been shown to be more at risk for the disease.
Read more at the National Library of Medicine.
Calculate your Body Mass Index with the calculator provided by Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (If you are a child or teenager, use this calculator.)
Body Mass Index (BMI) or Quetelet Index is used to determine a person’s total fat, which is related to the risk of diseases. If a person’s BMI is greater than 25, the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute recommends weight loss, especially if the person has a high waist measurement.
BMI is frequently used to determine the following categories:
||BMI range – kg/m2
||less than 15
||from 15 to 18.5
||from 18.5 to 25
||from 25 to 30
||from 30 to 40
||greater than 40
What to take into consideration:
- The score may overestimate BMI for those who are greatly athletic or have a lot of muscle mass.
- The score may be underestimated for those who are older or have a small amount of muscle mass.
About BMI for Adults
About BMI for Children & Teens
Harvard: Body Mass Index
According to the Harvard web site, BMI is only one of the many tools used to predict risk factor for diseases.
Diseases and conditions associated with obesity include the following: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes, sleep apnea, and some types of cancers.
According to the Medical College of Wisconsin, because BMI may not be completely accurate, one should also measure their waist as this measurement is used in conjunction with BMI to help access risk.
To measure your waist, “place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hip bone. Be sure that the tape is snug, but does not compress your skin, and is parallel to the floor. Relax, exhale, and measure your waist.”
You may be at risk if:
- You are female and your waist measures more than 35 inches.
- You are male and your waist masures more than 40 inches.