According to research, experts claim that if the Waist Hip Ratio was used to measure obesity alongside the BMI, the number of people at risk of heart disease and other obesity related diseases would treble.

The Waist Hip Ratio (WHR) is used to represent the difference between your waist measurement and your hip measurement and is calculated by dividing your waist measurement by your hip one. The WHR is used in addition to the BMI index to determine whether a person’s weight is healthy. Whilst BMI is the first indicator of potential health problems due to weight, the WHR looks more closely at body shape and can be an indicator of other health issues.

WHR to measure obesity

The WHR is the only body weight calculator that takes into account an individual’s body fat percentage. This means that two people with the same BMI could have completely different waist-hip ratios. You could even potentially have a person with a BMI of 30 who has a lower hip waist ratio than a person with a BMI of 28, because of their different body shapes and different body fat ratios.

Research shows that people that carry more weight in the middle of their bodies, and have an ‘apple shaped’ body, are at higher risk of health problems than those who carry their weight on their lower half, with ‘pear-shaped’ bodies. Obesity is measured by the World Health Organisation as having a WHR of over 0.9 (for men) or 0.85 (for women), or a BMI of over 30. So, theoretically, your BMI could be below 30 but you could still be at the same health risks as someone with a BMI of over 30, if your WHR is high.

Health risks of high WHR

The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), says that women with a WHR over 0.8 and men with a WHR over 1.0, may have a higher risk of diabetes or kidney disease due to the distribution of more fat around their middles.

Further research shows that women with a WHR of 0.7-0.79 are generally healthy and more likely to conceive than those with higher waist hip ratios of 0.8 or more, regardless of BMI. Men with WHRs of under 0.9 are also shown to be healthier and more fertile, with less chance of developing prostate or testicular cancer.

If you are worried about your BMI or WHR and need a helping hand to lose weight then get in touch using the contact sheet on the right of this screen and one of our qualified US-based case workers will contact you.