Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR): What It is and How to Calculate?

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The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is the calculation that is made from measurements of the waist and hips to check the risk that a person has of developing cardiovascular disease. This is because of the higher the concentration of abdominal fat, the greater the risk of having problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, or atherosclerosis.

The presence of these diseases together with excess fat in the abdominal region of the body also increases the risk of more serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and liver fat, which can leave sequelae or lead to death.

In addition to this waist-to-hip ratio, calculating BMI is also a good way to assess the risk of having diseases related to being overweight.

How to calculate

To calculate the waist-to-hip ratio, the measuring tape should be used to assess:

  • Waist size, which should be measured in the narrowest part of the abdomen or in the region between the last rib and the navel;
  • Hip size, which should be measured at the widest part of the buttocks.

Then, the value obtained from the waist size should be divided by the hip size.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio (Whr): What It Is and How to Calculate
Waist-to-Hip Ratio (Whr): What It Is and How to Calculate

How to interpret the results

The results of the waist-to-hip ratio vary according to sex, with a maximum of 0.80 for women and 0.95 for men.

Results equal to or higher than these values ​​indicate a high risk for cardiovascular diseases, and it is important to remember that the higher the value, the greater the risk. In these cases, it is advisable to seek medical help to check if there are any health problems and to go to a nutritionist to start an eating plan that allows for weight loss and the reduction of disease risk.

Waist-hip risk table

Health risk Woman Man
Low Less than 0.80 Less than 0.95
Moderate 0.81 to 0.85 0.96 to 1.0
High Higher 0.86 Higher 1.0

In addition, it is important to monitor weight loss and take new measurements of the waist and hip, to assess the decrease in risk as the treatment is being followed properly.

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