Waist to Hip Ratio

Waist to hip ratio:

Waist to Hip ratio is an easy way to determine your risk for metabolic disease. It only uses one tool, and is also easy to interpret!

Waist/Hip: “Indicates relative fat distribution in adults and risk of disease.” (Katch, McArdle, Katch, Essentials of Exercise Physiology, Ed. 4, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011) This is a simple and easy technique to see how much of the harmful android (trunk) fat is burdening your health. Use Waist to Hip ratio (WHR) to determine how your risk for Metabolic and Cardiac disease, so that you could formulate a plan of action for your future health. Try it today!

To do:

Simply stand tall, take a slight inhale, and wrap the measuring tape around the smallest part of your waist, right above your navel, usually. Write this number down in inches. Then, wrap the tape around your widest part of the hips and buttocks. This is your hip girth. Write this down. Plug it into this formula.

Abdomen girth (inches)/ Hip girth (inches)= Ratio

Generally, if this ratio is higher, you are leaning more towards the android shape that we talked about last week, and if your ratio is a lower number, your body shape leans more towards the gynoid shape that we talked about last week!

Now that you have your ratio, let’s interpret.

Higher ratios could be indicative of:

  • Hyperinsulinemia
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertension
  • Atherosclerosis

World Health Organization defines risk classification as such:

Waist-to-hip ratio chart

Health risk Women Men
Low 0.80 or lower 0.95 or lower
Moderate 0.81–0.85 0.96–1.0
High 0.86 or higher 1.0 or higher


Generally, HWR that exceeds .80 for women and .95 for men increase your risk, even after adjusting total body weight.  Generally, storing fat in the central region provides a reasonable indication of intraabdominal visceral fat tissue, as well.

So, rule of thumb?

If you have a higher HWR, There is a good chance you have more Visceral Fat, as well. This also puts you at considerably more health risks hormonally, metabolically, heart- wise, sleep-wise, blood sugar storage-wise….and MORE!
If you have a higher than ideal HWR, fear not! There are changes you can make to decrease this ratio.


Next week we will delve into how to tackle that stubborn trunk fat with a quick High Intensity Interval Training circuit (H.I.I.T.)!