Fitness Articles

Waist-to-Hip Ratio Estimates Health Risk

Are You an Apple or a Pear?

90SHARES
Ever notice how some people can have big bellies but lean legs, or how women tend to store most of their fat in their thighs, hips, and butt? These are examples of fat distribution, which refers to where your body typically stores the fat, no matter what your weight is. This is important because where you store fat can be a predictor of health risk.

The waist-to-hip (WTH) ratio is a common measure of fat distribution. Your WTH ratio can help you track your weight loss progress, while also serving as a warning about your estimated health risk for problems related to being overweight, such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. In fact, a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that for some age groups, the waist-to-hip ratio is a better indicator of increased mortality risk than body mass index (BMI), which compares your height to your weight.

Calculating Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio
Use a measuring tape to measure your waist (at the smallest circumference of your natural waist, usually just above the belly button) and the circumference of your hips (at the widest part of your buttocks). To determine your ratio, enter your measurements into SparkPeople's calculator, OR simply divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. Compare your result to the appropriate chart below, which is different for males and females.

Females Estimated health risk Estimated body shape
0.80 or below Low Pear
0.81 to 0.85 Moderate Avocado
0.85+ High Apple
Males Estimated health risk Estimated body shape
0.95 or below Low Pear
0.96 to 1.0 Moderate Avocado
1.0+ High Apple

Although all body fat is made of the same “stuff,” where it's stored can make a big difference in both how risky it is to your health, and in how easy it is to lose.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

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