Waist to Hip Ratio

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PatientPlus articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use, so you may find the language more technical than the condition leaflets.

The waist to hip ratio compares the size of your waist, to your hip measurement. If your hips are bigger than your waist you are a pear shape. If your waist is bigger than your hips, you are an apple shape. Research has shown that people who have more weight around their waist (apple-shaped) have more health risks than those who have pear shapes.[1] 

To get the most accurate measurements, you should measure your waist just above your belly button. You should measure your hips at the widest point of your buttocks.

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  • In women, a Waist to Hip Ratio greater than 0.85 is associated with greater than average risk.
  • In men, a Waist to Hip Ratio greater than 1.00 is associated with greater than average risk.

Further reading & references

  1. Canoy D, Boekholdt SM, Wareham N, et al; Body fat distribution and risk of coronary heart disease in men and women in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition in Norfolk cohort: a population-based prospective study. Circulation. 2007 Dec 18;116(25):2933-43. Epub 2007 Dec 10.
  2. Why body shape matters; NHS Choices

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Dr Hayley Willacy
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Hilary Cole
Document ID:
28777 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
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