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What is an ideal waist-to-hip ratio?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Waist-to-hip ratio measures the waist at the narrowest point between the ribs and the iliac crest. To determine your waist-to-hip ratio, take a tape measure and measure your waist (at the point of your bellybutton, while sucking in - you will anyway). Now measure your hips at the largest point around the buttocks. Do this calculation: Waist size divided by hip size. Men are generally close to 1:1 (same size waist and hips). The ideal figure that science has determined for women: 0.7:1 (in our terms that's at most a 32.5-inch waist and 46-inch hips).
Before you wad up a ball of paper and hurl it at the screen, hear me out. While we know there are all kinds of "ideal" bodies, studies actually show that waist-to-hip ratio is a very reliable signal of reproductive age, reproductive potential, and potential for disease. The closer your body is to the ideal measurements, the closer it is to ideal for childbearing. Researchers also found that the waist-to-hip ratio for Playboy centerfolds has increased slightly from .68 to .71, and Miss America contest winners have had a decrease from .72 to .69. The average body weight of these women has decreased over the years, but they still remain fairly constant when it comes to the all-important waist-to-hip ratio.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.