Waist circumference is the measurement around the waist that can indicate whether people are at risk for certain diseases often associated with obesity. This is not the only indication of too much body fat, but it can be an easy estimate as to whether people should consider losing weight. The potential results of having a higher waist circumference than is deemed healthy are multiple and include elevation of risks for developing heart disease, hypertension, or for becoming a Type II diabetic.
To get an accurate waist circumference measurement, people will need a flexible tape measure. People need to measure at the natural waist, which is usually the narrowest part of the waist, slightly above the navel (bellybutton). The tape measure is not a constriction device, and the goal of measuring is not to squeeze the tape measurer into the skin as far as possible to get the lowest reading. Another common strategy is to suck in the breath and hold it, resulting in a smaller reading. For better accuracy, measure loosely and breathe normally.
Medical experts usually define dangerous waist circumference as 35 inches (88.9 cm) or higher in women and 40 inches (101.6 cm) or higher in men. As previously stated, these readings are associated with higher incidence of heart disease, diabetes Type II and high blood pressure, which elevates risk for stroke. Even people who fall slightly below these measurements may be considered at increased risk because it’s easy to inch up, especially as the years pass and particularly if habits that promote this degree of belly fat around the waist aren’t changed.
When physicians or others analyze waist circumference, they often compare it to body mass index (BMI) to determine how the two things together should be viewed medically. Higher BMI, along with danger zone waist circumference are considered particularly difficult issues representing highest chance of developing life-threatening illnesses. Because BMI can be calculated with fairly basic information and measuring the waist is easy, most people will not need to visit their doctor to determine if their weight is putting them at risk.
If people do find they have a dangerous risk level waist measurement, it’s important to get some medical or nutritional help. Finding a way to alter diet so that the measurement slowly but surely decreases can be a great method for improving health. Typically physicians or dieticians recommend changes to diet and to exercise. Trying to quickly lose weight with fad diets is usually not thought ideal because many people swiftly regain weight they lose in this manner. The goal is to reduce waist measurement gradually, and thus risk of certain illnesses, through sustainable behavior changes.