What is the waist-to-hip ratio?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Doctors use waist to hip ratio to determine if a patient has too much abdominal fat. Studies strongly suggest that carrying excessive abdominal fat—that is, a thick pad of flab in the midsection—increases the risk for heart disease, stroke and premature death. To figure out your waist to hip ratio, measure your waist (just above the belly button) and your hips (at their widest point). Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. A ratio above 0.90 for men and 0.85 for women means excess abdominal fat.

Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a tool to assess distribution of body fat. It looks at the relationship between the circumference measurements of your waist and hips and can be used as a measurement of your health. WHR is calculated by dividing your waist circumference by your hip circumference.


Body shape can be a good predictor of health. Learn to keep your body healthy by watching these tips from Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen.

Waist to hip ratio is a measurement which includes the circumference of an individual’s waist divided by the circumference of their hips. Your ratio tells you whether you’re shaped like a pear or an apple. Most people store fat on their body in two places, around their waist or around their hips. In a pear-shaped person, the fat accumulates around the hip region and on an apple-shaped person the fat accumulates around the waist and upper torso. Carrying the extra weight around the waist (apple-shaped) can make a person more prone to certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A normal ratio for a female is below .80 and for a male a normal ratio is below .95. It should be considered that waist to hip ratio does not take into account lean body mass or fat mass, so a person could have a high waist to hip ratio but have a low body fat percentage.

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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.