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What's your waist size?

After you know your BMI, it's time to look at your waist size.

Measuring your waist can help you find out how much fat you have stored around your belly. People who are "apple-shaped"camera.gif and store fat around their belly are more likely to develop weight-related diseases than people who are "pear-shaped"camera.gif and store most of their fat around their hips. Diseases that are related to weight include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Measure your waist sizecamera.gif with a tape measure. The tape should fit snugly but not press into your skin.

For most people, the goal for a healthy waist is:1

  • Less than 40 in. (102 cm) for men.
  • Less than 35 in. (88 cm) for women.

If you are Asian, the goal for a healthy waist is:

  • Less than 36 in. (91 cm) for men.
  • Less than 32 in. (81 cm) for women.
Waist size: What to do
If you are ... Then ...

In the underweight range on the BMI chart:

See your doctor to find out if you have a medical problem that is causing your low weight.

Within the recommended BMI range and your waist size is within the recommendations:

Your weight is not a problem for your health.

At or above the recommended BMI range and your waist size is higher than recommended:

See your doctor to find out if you have health problems that might be related to your weight.

You may need to change your eating habits and get more active.

In the overweight category on the BMI chart but your waist size is within the recommendations:

Your weight may be right for you. But you need to see your doctor to find out if you have health problems that might be related to your weight.

In the obese category on the BMI chart, no matter what your waist measurement is:

You may need to lose weight to be healthier, as well as change your eating and activity habits.

Your doctor may want to take another measurement, called a waist-to-hip ratio. This measurement is a comparison of your waist size to your hip size. A higher waist-to-hip ratio means that you are more "apple-shaped" than "pear-shaped" and therefore at a higher risk for weight-related disease.

Body fat testing is sometimes used to help find out if a person has a healthy percentage of body fat.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

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