Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)

The waist to hip ratio is the ratio of waist circumference to the hip circumference, a simple calculation of the measurements of the waist girth divided by the hip girth. This test has been shown to be related to the risk of coronary heart disease. The basis of this measure as a coronary disease risk factor is the assumption is that fat stored around the waist poses a greater risk to health than fat stored elsewhere in the body.

aim: to determine the ratio of waist circumference to the hip circumference, as this has been shown to be related to the risk of coronary heart disease. waist girth measure

equipment required: tape measure

procedure: A simple calculation of the measurements of the waist girth divided by the hip girth. Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) = Gw / Gh, where Gw = waist girth, Gh = hip girth. It does not matter which units of measurement you use, as long as it is the same for each measure.

scoring: The table below gives general guidelines for acceptable levels for hip to waist ratio. Acceptable values are excellent and good. You can use any units for the measurements (e.g. cm or inches), as it is only the ratio that is important.

  male female
extreme > 1.00 > 0.90
high 0.95 - 1.00 0.85 - 0.90
average 0.90 - 0.95 0.80 - 0.85
good 0.85 - 0.90 0.75 - 0.80
excellent < 0.85 < 0.75

target population: This measure is often used to determine the coronary artery disease risk factor associated with obesity.

advantages: the WHR is a simple measure that can be taken at home by anyone to monitor their own body composition levels.

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