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Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR)

The Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR), also called waist-to-stature ratio (WSR), is a simple measurement of body composition and one of the commonly used screening tools for obesity. The measurement is based on waist girth (circumference) and standing height. WHtR is not unlike Body Mass Index (BMI) which is based on height and weight measures, though it is equivalent to or slightly better than waist circumference and superior to BMI in predicting higher cardiometabolic risk (Yoo, 2016).

purpose: to determine the ratio of height to the waist circumference.

equipment required: tape measure and stadiometer.

procedure: A simple calculation of the measurements of the height divided by the waist girth. The waist circumference should be taken at the midpoint between the lower border of the rib cage and the top of the iliac crest. It does not matter which units of measurement you use, as long as it is the same for each measure.

Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR) = Waist Girth / Height

checking your waist girth checking your waist girth

scoring: The generally acceptable level is if your waist measurement is less than half your height (e.g. ratio is less than 0.5). Higher values of WHtR indicate higher risk of obesity-related cardiovascular diseases. You can use any units for the measurements (e.g. cm or inches), as it is only the ratio that is important.

Rating Men Women
Extremely Slim ≤ 0.34 ≤ 0.34
Underweight 0.35 to 0.43 0.35 to 0.41
Healthy 0.43 to 0.52 0.42 to 0.48
Overweight 0.53 to 0.57 0.49 to 0.53
Very Overweight 0.58 to 0.62 0.54 to 0.57
Morbidly Obese ≥ 0.63 ≥ 0.58

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

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

other comments: 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.


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