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Waist Measurement

What does my score mean?

Compare your scores with the table below:

Increased Health Risk Substantially Increased Health Risk


(37 Inches)


(40 Inches)



(31.5 Inches)


(34.5 Inches)



(35.5 Inches)



(31.5 Inches)

Table: Levels of risk associated with waist circumference values (British Heart Foundation, 2014)

What is Waist Circumference?
Waist circumference is a measurement which provides an estimation of body fat at the abdomen (Klein et al, 2007).

Risk Associated with Waist Circumference
Your risk of health problems can be affected by where body fat is deposited. By carrying too much fat around your waist, you can increase your risk of developing conditions such as:

• Type 2 diabetes
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• High Cholesterol
• Cardiovascular Disease

It’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of hormones.
Men and women who have waist circumferences greater than 40 inches (102 cm) and 35 inches (88 cm),
respectively, are considered to be at an increased risk for cardiometabolic disease (Wang et al, 2005) (see table).
Waist circumference can determine whether a person is classified as underweight, healthy,
overweight or obese.

Reducing Fat around the Waist and Reducing Risk

Most people who carry too much body fat around their waist can blame their excess fat on consuming more energy (calories) than they actually burn. By consuming more calories than expended, the excess energy is stored as fat in the body.

Be active more often – Aim for 150 minutes, or more of physical activity per week.

Portion size – Avoid piling the food on the plate unless it is nutritious vegetables!

Food choices – Consume complex carbohydrates (whole-grains, vegetables and fruit) and lean proteins
rather than simple carbohydrates (white bread, sugary drinks, and refined grain pasta).

Fat is not your enemy – Your body needs fat in the diet. Make sure it is polyunsaturated fats (oily fish, nuts and seeds) over saturated and trans fats (butter, chocolate, cheese, processed meats).

Avoid snacking – If you do snack, choose a healthy option, otherwise try to eat the same time each day
to avoid getting hungry.

Five a day – Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day whether fresh or frozen.

British Heart Foundation. (2008). Measuring Your Waist. Available: http://www.bhf.org.uk/bmi/bmi_measurewaist.html. Last accessed 14th April 2014.
Klein, S., Allison, D.B., Heymsfield, S.B., Kelley, D.E., Leibel, R.L., Nonas, C., and Kahn, R. (2007) Waist Circumference and Cardiometabolic Risk: A Consensus Statement from Shaping America’s Health: Association for Weight Management and Obesity Prevention; NAASO, the Obesity Society; the American Society for Nutrition; and the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes Care. 30(6), 1647-1652.
Wang, Y., Rimm, E.B., Stampfer, M.J., Willett, W.C., and Hu, F.B. (2005) Comparison of abdominal adiposity and overall obesity in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes among men.  Am J Clin Nutr. 81(3), 555–563.