Maintaining a Healthy Weight
by Dr. Sarah Brewer
A Nutritionist and Doctor
Most people who monitor their weight focus on their bathroom scales, or on their body mass index (BMI) which is calculated from their height and weight. But researchers have found that your waist size is a better indicator of your health than either your weight or your BMI. If you tend to deposit fat around your internal organs, you are more likely to develop serious health problems than those who store excess fat around their hips, or under their skin.
So, before reading any further, find a tape measure and check the size of your waist.
Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, and wrap your tape measure around your waist, midway between these points. Breathe out naturally, and then make a note of your waist measurement.
You have a higher risk of health problems if:
- you are male and your waist size is more than 94cm (37 inches),
- you are female and your waist measures more than 80cm (31.5 inches).
For Asian men and women, the health risks increase from a lower waist size, and you need to take steps to reduce your level of abdominal fat if your waist measurement is greater than 90cm (36”) for a man, or above80cm (32”) for a woman.
Those with very large waists - 120cm or more for men, and 110cm or more for women - are twice as likely to die, from any cause, at any age, than those who are thinner. So, regardless of your overall weight, try to avoid becoming too big around the middle, especially as you get older. Focus on maintaining a healthy waist rather than a healthy weight.
Did you know? While 61% of adults are unhappy with the size of their waistline, only 55% actually know the size of their waist.