W is for Waist Measurement

Numbers Can Predict Your Risks


Michelle Katzaroff, D.O.

Measuring your waist is a simple way to predict your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. A large waist measurement can even predict a shorter life span.

Studies have shown that abdominal obesity (the traditional apple shape, beer belly or “spare tire”) is much more dangerous to your health than fat stored in the hips and thighs. That’s because abdominal fat begins inside your body, around your organs, while fat stored in the hips and thighs tends to be right under the skin. Abdominal fat is much more active than fat stored elsewhere on your body.

Women should have a waist measurement of 35 inches or less, while men should measure 40 inches or less. “Measuring your waist is another tool to help you learn about your health,” advised Michelle Katzaroff, D.O., of the NorthBay Center for Primary Care in Green Valley.

To measure your waist, find your natural waistline, which is below the ribcage and above your hipbones. Use a cloth tape to get the most accurate measurement. If your waist is the same size as your hips or larger, it will be hard to find. Drop your arms at your side and take the measurement where your elbow hits your body.

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