Waist to Hip Ratio

Last Updated: February 21, 2019

Definition - What does Waist to Hip Ratio mean?

Waist to hip ratio (WHR) is the ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips. This test is often used as a measure of determining how fat is distributed around the body and as an indicator of the risk of developing certain serious health conditions related to body fat, although it should never be used as a stand alone diagnosis tool and is only one possible indicator of further testing needed.

WorkplaceTesting explains Waist to Hip Ratio

A waist to hip ratio is obtained by measuring the hip circumference and the waist circumference and dividing the waist number by the hip measurement. This fractional number is then compared to a chart (that does change occasionally as medical opinions change) to see what risk category a person falls into. The ratios are different for men and women. In general, someone with a large waist when compared to the hips is considered at a higher health risk than someone with a smaller waist than hip measurement. There are always exceptions to every rule and external measurements are never a definitive diagnosis of internal problems. A waist to hip ratio is simply a tool that can serve as an indicator of possible risk factors and the need to consult a medical professional.

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