Waist to Hip Ratio – What does it mean?
Women with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 0.8 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution.
Men with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 1.0 are at increased health risk because of their fat distribution.
Excess fat in the abdominal region poses a greater health risk than excess fat in the hips and thighs.
It is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, early onset of heart disease, and certain types of cancers (American Dietetic Association). However, waist to hip ratio is not a good measure of visceral fat. This is the fat that sits around internal organs and presents the most heath risks.
This simple measurement is more helpful than calculating ideal body weight. It is also superior to BMI.
Measuring your body composition and fat distribution is a more meaningful indicator of health outcomes. See how to measure body fat here.
Apples and Pears
The apple or pear shape is an anecdotal way of classifying women’s body shapes.
- WHR (Waist-to-Hip Ratio) on or above 0.8 – you are an apple shape.
- WHR under 0.8 – you are a pear shape.
Read more about Apples and Pears.
Ideal Waist Hip Ratio and Attractiveness
There is plenty of talk on what constitutes an ideal waist to hip ratio.
Ideal to whom? Yourself or someone that looks at you?
The supposed ideal is just under 0.7.
Here’s a good article with lots of discussion concerning body shape and attractiveness.
- van der Kooy, K., Leenen, R., Seidell, J. C., Deurenberg, P., Droop, A., Bakker, C. J. (1993). Waist-hip ratio is a poor predictor of changes in visceral fat. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 57(3), 327-333. Link
- Singh, D. (1994). Is thin really beautiful and good? Relationship between waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and female attractiveness. Personality and Individual Differences, 16(1), 123-132. Link
- Wing, R. R., Matthews, K. A., Kuller, L. H., Meilahn, E. N., Plantinga, P. (1991). Waist to hip ratio in middle-aged women. Associations with behavioral and psychosocial factors and with changes in cardiovascular risk factors. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 11(5), 1250-1257. Link
I just wanted to say how great this site is. The Macro-Nutrient and Daily Calorie Needs calculators I use all the time. Thank you!