Get in shape for summer. Why waist size matters.
Summer is a great time to review your diet as there are so many fruits and vegetables around to make delicious salads. It is also a great time to get outside and get in shape.
But getting in shape is not just about being the right weight for your height it is also about being the right shape - particularly around your waist.
Waist circumference is a good measure of fat around your middle. This type of fat builds up around your organs, and can damage your health.
Why is having weight stored around the waist a problem?
A larger waist usually also means there is excess fat inside your organs. When this happens in your liver, for example, it pumps out too much fat and sugar into the blood, increasing your risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes.
What should your waist measurement be?
For men, a waist circumference below 94cm (37in) is ‘low risk’, 94–102cm (37-40in) is ‘high risk’ and more than 102cm (40in) is ‘very high’.
For women, below 80cm (31.5in) is low risk, 80–88cm (31.5-34.6in) is high risk and more than 88cm (34.6in) is very high. These are the guidelines for people of white European, black African, Middle Eastern and mixed origin.
Is this the best way to understand whether you are overweight?
If you want to eat more healthily and lose weight, it’s best to measure how much weight you lose or put on. Losing weight will help you to lose weight around your waist.
Waist measurement is better for people who carry a lot of muscle and less fat, like bodybuilders, boxers and rugby players
Doctors are more likely to use body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to your height.
How to measure your waist
- Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.
- Place a tape measure around your middle at a point halfway between them (just above the belly button).
- Make sure it’s pulled tight, but isn’t digging into your skin.
- Breathe out naturally and take your measurement.
- Take your measurement again, just to be sure.