Why is there a difference in healthy waist-to-hip ratios for men and women?

In females, the circumference of the hips is generally larger than the circumference of the waist due to basic female anatomy. This correlation will cause the ratio to be lower (further away from 1) than the ratio for a male. For example, if a female has a 32-inch waist and 40-inch hips they will have a ratio of .80. This represents an acceptable ratio for a female. But, the male anatomy does not typically consist of the larger hips compared to the waist and torso. Therefore, a waist measurement of 32 inches and a hip measurement of 34 inches, which divides to be a ratio of .94, represents a healthy waist to hip ratio for a male. Waist to hip ratio is calculated by measuring the circumference of an individual’s waist and dividing it by the circumference of the individual’s hips. This ratio helps the individual determine their risk for certain health-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Individuals with a larger mid-section than hips (or who appear to be apple-shaped) are at greater risk for these conditions because the fat accumulation in the mid-section. If an individual accumulates more fat around the hips, they are not at as much risk for weight-related diseases.

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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.