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How do I measure my waist to hip ratio?

Neal D. Barnard, MD
Psychiatry
To measure your waist to hip ratio, run a tape measure around your waist and do the same for your hips; divide the waist by the hips. In this video, Neal Barnard, MD, explains how to get an accurate measurement, and what the target number should be.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Measuring your waist to hip ratio is simple. Use a tape measure to determine the circumference of your hips at their widest point. Now measure the smallest part of your waist, which is usually just above the belly button. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to determine your waist to hip ratio. According to the World Health Organization, a man has too much abdominal fat if his waist-to-hip ratio is above 0.90. A woman has excess abdominal fat if her waist-to-hip ratio is over 0.85. Abdominal fat increases the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other health threats.

WHR is calculated by dividing your waist circumference by your hip circumference. To measure your waist circumference, place a nonstretchable tape measure snugly around your bare waist at its narrowest circumference between the rib cage and belly button, but don't squeeze. Exhale, and then measure your waist.

To measure your hip circumference, place a nonstretchable tape measure snugly around your hips/buttocks at their widest point. Calculate your WHR by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement.

Measure your waist and hip circumferences.  Calculate your waist circumference divided by your hip circumference (waist / hip).  It is estimated that your level of health risk is increased if your value is larger than:
o 0.80 for a woman
o 0.95 for a man

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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.