Fitness Articles

Waist-to-Hip Ratio Estimates Health Risk

Are You an Apple or a Pear?


Pear Shape (Low Health Risk)
If you’re a pear shape, you tend to carry most of your weight in your hips, thighs and buttocks. Storing fat in your lower half is actually a healthier site for fat accumulation. Research shows that storing fat here may actually protect you against cardiovascular disease. In one study of 1,356 women, ages 60-85, Danish researchers found that those with excessive fat in the arms, legs, hips and buttocks had less atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) than those who stored most fat in their abdominal area and other central parts of the body.

Apple Shape (High Health Risk)
If you tend to carry weight in your abdominal area and upper torso, you’re an apple shape. People who are apple-shaped and tend to carry more weight around their waists (commonly referred to as a “pot belly”) are at a greater risk of lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than pear-shaped people. However, a 2011 study of 220,000 people published in The Lancet did not find an increased risk.

Avocado Shape (Moderate Health Risk)
You may hear about apples and pears all the time, but what about people who don't fit into either category? The less common "avocado" shape is somewhere between an apple and a pear, with health risks higher than a pear-shaped person, but somewhat lower than a true apple-shaped person.
Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

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.

Member Comments

    Pear. Always a pear
    - 9/9/2015 9:14:09 PM
  • Hmmmm..... Avocado?? First I've heard that one. - 9/4/2015 8:18:41 AM
    I am an apple it says but I look like a box lol with bulge out front and bulge out back lol guess I a squished box. Made me laugh at least. Lots of work ahead. Dr oz recommending me to eat cold potatoes to use up all carbs. I called an "android" type meaning fat pot belly. But at 5' 1" and 159 lbs its time to work hard!! Wish me luck. - 9/3/2015 7:52:53 PM
  • I can't measure myself at the moment, but I've noticed ever since I started birth control I've steadily transitioned from a pear to more like an avocado. I still have a fairly defined waistline, but my belly below the waist is gathering more fat and refuses to let any of it go. It's even more frustrating when I can feel my now strengthening ab muscles just under the layer of flab and I know I may never see them until or unless I get off of bc! - 7/15/2015 2:47:30 PM
  • EMB_RN
    So today I learned that avocado body shape is a thing, and my waist measurement which I had been underestimating by about 3 inches. I guess I can't blame the dryer for shrinking my pants anymore. - 6/23/2015 11:55:56 AM
  • I'm an avocado. Mmmmm. Avocados. ;) - 1/27/2015 9:22:28 AM
    Well, I just measured and I believe I am an apple. This is my 1st day on SparkePeople. I am looking forward to some good results down the road..quite a way down the road. I didn't put it on over night. - 11/12/2014 4:21:28 PM
    I was always a pear until I hit 40, now I'm an apple. I don't like it. As I understand it, getting thick through the middle is common as you age, especially after menopause. - 10/30/2014 9:04:40 AM
  • Like BMI this method is a broad brush approach which as an individual I'd suggest can be down right wrong. Across the board it may be more right than wrong but if you take control of your health and read articles like this, you need a more specific method of assessing your healthy (and fat distribution). Get a well taken caliper body fat percentage, GEM test, or use a body fat scale (correctly) to assess your genuine state of health. Where fat is store is most important and how much you store. BMI and waist circumference are not great indicators of this. I have body fat of about 24% which is very healthy for a female but my BMI is overweight and my waist circumference shows at high risk using these methods. Might be my shape, my bones, my ethnicity, not sure what but these method don't work for everyone. - 5/28/2014 10:42:24 PM
  • I am a apple. Iwas always a pear until having children. Lol. Love them. - 1/9/2014 7:28:50 AM
  • I am a woman with a 0.76 waist-to-hip ratio, which according to this article means that I tend to store fat in my hips, thighs, and butt. WRONG! My hips and butt are virtually fat-free. I have a small amount of stubborn fat on the inner thighs, but the vast majority of excess fat is on my lower abs and always has been, even in childhood. Another myth is that people with abdominal fat always have a great deal of visceral fat where mine is obviously subcutaneous. As far as the "woman will bulk up if they lift heavy weights myth," does anyone actually still believe this, lol?! As far as women being able to add as much as 30% more lean muscle by weight training, that would be nice, but even in my super-obsessive weight training years (8 year streak of 5-6 day weight training workouts for 1-2 hrs each time), I never came close to this even though I was progressing in the amount I was lifting. How about an article for those of us who do not fit these stereotypes? - 11/16/2013 11:43:21 AM
  • I only was asked for 2 measurements hips and waist how can you tell my shape when my upper measurement could be bigger . I always thought I was too big up there. bust. - 9/16/2013 11:28:02 AM
  • I was a pear most of my life, and only turned into an avocado in the past 3 or 4 years. I hope the pear returns after I drop these pounds. 8-) - 9/6/2013 12:31:59 AM
  • I'm an apple - which is not surprising after my twin pregnancy. I was very large and delivered 15.5lbs of babies! This measure of health is disappointing to me since I workout consistently with kettlebells, running and ab videos AND I eat less than 1500 calories/day. I noticed in the article that it mentioned "a 2011 study of 220,000 people did not find an increased risk" - which seems to contradict the main point of the article... - 8/11/2013 9:11:41 AM
  • it says apple but that is not me, I carry my weight every where - 8/10/2013 6:00:52 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by November 21! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.