Good Measurement: Waist/Hip Ratio

Original Image by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr
Original Image by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

The calculation of one’s BMI: BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703 or BMI = ( Weight in Kilograms / ( Height in Meters x Height in Meters ) ) has become the gold standard of evaluating one’s weight and quickly categorizes someone into underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.  However, critics recognize BMI is not always the best measurement as it doesn’t take into consideration muscle mass and doesn’t always reflect client’s full body composition.

Physicians and health professionals are relying more and more on measuring clients waist/hip ratio. Just like BMI, it’s a quick way to evaluate obesity and it doesn’t require anything more than a measuring tape.

When measuring hips and/or waist, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of butt and then measure waist at the smaller circumference of natural waist, which is usually just above the belly button.To find the ratio, one divides the waist measurement/hip measurement. After you’ve got your ratio, use the chart at the beginning of this post to see where your ratio falls.

When the stomach measurement is 90 percent or more of the hip measurement in men — and 85 percent or more of the hip measurement in women — a patient generally is thought to have a worrisome distribution of fat, said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez

There’s a correlation with abdominal fat and overall body visceral fat, signifying higher blood pressure, insulin and glucose in the blood. While BMI may help predict client’s survival without coronary disease, it doesn’t signify those affected by coronary heart disease already.

It’s suggested BMI and waist/hip ratio should be measured during assessments when possible.  Also, at home measurements of waist/hip ratio is easy for all to do, you just need to get a measuring tape.  Fluctuations from weighing oneself on a scale is not always a true indicator of weight status, but by weekly measurements of one’s waist/hip ratio can give a better indication of one’s health.


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