How comparing two measurements can help you assess the related health risks of where you store fat.

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When people gain weight, the excess fat can be stored in different parts of the body. It may be distributed centrally (around the abdomen or belly), or around the hips and thighs. We now know that these different patterns of fat distribution have different impacts on your health.

It has been found that accumulating excess body fat centrally (a body type sometimes referred to as an ‘apple’) increases the risk of developing obesity-related conditions, while increased body fat around the hips and thighs (‘pear’ shape body type) poses a much lower health risk.

The Waist Hip Ratio assesses whether your waist is wider than your hips (apple) or smaller than your hips (pear), and has been found to be an accurate predictor of increased obesity-related health risk.

Excess abdominal fat distribution and an increased health risk for chronic disease is indicated by a WHR greater than:

• 0.9 for men

• 0.8 for women

How to measure your waist and hips

Waist: Measure around your waist at the midpoint between the top of the hip bone and the lowest rib.

Hips: Measure around your hips where the buttocks are the broadest.

Stand up straight with your arms relaxed by your side. Make sure your tape doesn’t stretch and is wrapped snugly without being tight.


References/more information

World Health Organization – Waist Hip Ratio report

Dietitians Association of Australia

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