Your waist circumference is an indicator of your risk of developing some serious health conditions, including heart disease. People who carry too much fat around their middle have a higher risk of developing heart disease, however, this risk can be reduced by losing weight. We explain how to measure your waist as well as providing tips for maintaining a healthy waistline.
What is a healthy waistline?
A healthy waistline for men is anything below 94cm (37 inches) and anything below 80cm (31.5 inches) for women. You are at a high risk if your waist circumference is 102cm (40 inches) or over for men or 88cm (34.6 inches) or over for women.
If you are a man from African Caribbean, South Asian, Chinese or Japanese origin, a healthy waist circumference is anything below 90cm (35.4 inches).
- How to measure your waist circumference
Checking your waist circumference will help you to identify whether you are carrying too much fat around your middle. To measure your waist, you first need to find the bone at the top of your hip and your bottom rib. You need to wrap a tape measure around your middle at the centre of these two points. You need to relax and breathe out when the measurement is taken. Ensure the tape measure is touching your skin, but not pulled too tightly. You can repeat the measure two more times and take the average.
- Maintain a healthy waistline
If your waist circumference is within the healthy range, this is great news. You should keep an eye on your waist circumference by measuring it from time to time. If your waist circumference is above the healthy range, you should try to lose weight. We gain weight when we eat more calories than we use up. By eating less and getting more physical activity, you should see your weight and your waistline reduce. You can get help to lose weight by following the NHS 12-week weight loss plan: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/start-the-nhs-weight-loss-plan/