# Waist to hip ratio

## Synonyms

Apple-shape, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, fat distribution, high cholesterol, hips, obesity, metabolic syndrome, pear-shape, waist, WHR.

## Background

Waist to hip ratio (WHR) is the circumference of the waist (smallest part of the torso, usually slightly above the navel) divided by the circumference of the hips (largest part of the buttocks). This ratio may indicate body fat distribution and obesity and potentially the risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Waist circumference and are also tools used to define body fat distribution and obesity.

Waist to hip ratio (WHR) is the circumference of the waist (smallest part of the torso, usually slightly above the navel) divided by the circumference of the hips (largest part of the buttocks). This ratio may indicate body fat distribution and obesity and potentially the risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Waist circumference and are also tools used to define body fat distribution and obesity.

## Theory/evidence

Research has indicated that body shape may be related to an increased risk of certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. An "apple-shape" (weight carried primarily around the waist) seems to have a higher risk of these diseases than a "pear-shape" (weight carried primarily around the hips.) These shapes can be defined by comparing waist circumference to hip circumference, or waist-hip ration (WHR).

According to the American Heart Association, WHR is less accurate than body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference and is no longer recommended.

## Charts And Calculators

In order to calculate an approximate waist-hip ratio, answer the following questions:

What is the waist circumference (measure around the smallest part of the torso, generally slightly above the navel)?

What is the hip circumference (measure around the largest part of the buttocks)?

Then, divide the waist circumference by the hips circumference: waist/hips.

The result is the ratio. For women, a healthy ratio is 0.8 or lower, and for men it is 1.0 or lower.

Note: The lowest healthy ratio is not known. Although the waist to hip ratio may indicate where fat is distributed on the body, it does not predict the risk of any disease. In fact, the American Heart Association does not recommend using the waist-hip ratio because it is less accurate than body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference alone.

## Author Information

This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

## Bibliography

American Heart Association. 8 May 2006. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4489

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