What your waistline measurement means for your health

Does your waistline measure up? How to check if your waistline is in the healthy range.

Written by Editor Medibank
Teenage girls use their own waist measurement straps. To control the size and shape of yourself after exercise.

We all know we feel better when we're a healthy weight.

But did you know being a healthy weight can reduce your risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers?

Nearly two thirds of Australians are overweight and, with those numbers steadily on the rise1, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re living a healthy, active lifestyle.

So how do I know if I'm a healthy weight?

Measuring your weight on the scales and taking your Body Mass Index (BMI) into account are a great starting point, however measuring your waistline can be a better indication of fat distribution than BMI, which doesn’t provide an accurate measure of fat versus muscle mass.

READ MORE: What is body composition and why does it matter?

How do I measure my waist correctly?

To get the most accurate reading you should measure your waist at the halfway point between your lowest rib and the top of your hip bone. On most people this should be roughly in line with your belly button.

You should take the following steps to make sure your measurement is as accurate as possible:

  • measure directly over your skin or no more than one item of light clothing
  • take the measurement after breathing out normally
  • have the tape measure fitting snug, but not compressing the skin

What is a healthy waist measurement?

A waistline of more than 94cm for men and 80cm for women can increase the risk of some types of chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Whilst a waistline of more than 102cm for men and 88cm for women can greatly increase that risk.

What can I do to reduce my waistline?

A healthy lifestyle is the best way to manage your weight and your waistline. Combining exercise and a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veggies is key.

READ MORE: How health cover can help you manage your weight

Your GP is the best person to talk to about how you can manage your weight and will be able to recommend safe and sustainable weight loss practices.

Should I still pay attention to BMI?

Having a full picture of your health is important so you should take both your body mass index and your waist measurement into account. Check your BMI with our handy calculator

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017, A picture of overweight and obesity in Australia,

Written by Editor Medibank

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