Waist to height ratio. Is your belt telling you something?

Waist to height ratio. Is your belt telling you something?

By Jessica Ward

Does anyone else remember the Garfield poster that said ‘I’m not overweight, I’m under-tall’?  We all know that being too heavy for our height (as shown by our BMI or Body Mass Index) is not good for us. But now it seems that the famously rotund feline also needs to check his waist measurement to keep a healthy figure, in both senses of the word.

That all important digit is now considered to be the waist-to-height ratio (WTHR), which is thought to be a clearer indicator of health than BMI. The magic number is 0.5 or less, which means that your waist should measure no more than half your height.

The results of many scientific studies of this are very consistent, with the NHS medical database categorising the outcomes as ‘robust statistical evidence’. There is a definite correlation between carrying too much fat around the middle and higher risk of problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So how do we measure WTHR? Here is a calculator to work out the ratio. The magic number is 0.5 or less, i.e your waist should measure no more than half your height. If the figure is too big, the actions required are simple:

  • Tackle the problem early – a few excess pounds are much easier to lose than larger amounts. It is also much healthier to keep your weight stable in the correct range.
  • Look at ways to fit in more exercise into your daily life, as well as adding some more gym or pool time.
  • Eat healthily – focus on fresh vegetables and lean meat, and avoid too many trips to the biscuit tin!

While we’ve always kept an eye on our waistline when it comes to keeping our weight in check, the WTHR offers a specific number to adhere to. So if those buttons are straining, it might be time to take some action.

 

Comments

Sarah L.
6 October 2014

Sarah L.

I've also heard that too much padding round the middle is bad, and this bears it out. Can't produce a waist like the photo, but will do some work!

Sasha B.
6 October 2014

Sasha B.

ha ha - my partner said he is 'undertall'!! I think he is just 'over lazy'!! I will show him this. Very interesting as I have never heard of this way of measuring before.

Tom D.
5 October 2014

Tom D.

It's great that you're talking about something other than BMI - I'm sick of seeing how important it seems to be to some people, I workout regularly, consider myself very fit yet my BMI has me down as overweight - it's not always the best way to work out where you stand. I'm off to check out that calculator now.

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