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Measuring Your Waist

Overview

Waist circumference is the distance around your waist. Measuring it is a way to check how much fat is on your belly. Having extra belly fat increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

For most people, the goal for a healthy waist is:footnote 1

  • Less than 40 in. (102 cm) for men.
  • Less than 35 in. (88 cm) for women.

People who are "apple-shaped" and store fat around their belly are more likely to develop weight-related diseases than people who are "pear-shaped" and store most of their fat around their hips.

To find your waist circumference, use a tape measure to measure around your body at the top of your hipbone. This is usually at the level of your belly button. The tape should fit snugly but not press into your skin.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (2000). The Practical Guide: Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults (NIH Publication No. 00-4084). Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/prctgd_c.pdf.

Credits

Current as of: December 27, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

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