Size Up Your Health

overeatingSize Up Your Health

Likely the last time you looked forward to being measured was when you were a rapidly “rising” adolescent. Today, well, maybe…not so much.

But what if I told you that a simple tape measure reading could work towards saving your life—save you from a whole host of diseases, disabilities, and chronic illnesses? Would you be willing to be measured, then?

It’s yesterday’s news that being overweight puts you at odds with good health. But did you know that recent studies have found that where you carry those extra pounds can be a better predictor of your future health (or lack thereof) than simply how much you weigh?

The fact is that people who are “apple-shaped”, who carry their weight around their midsection, are at a far greater health risk than their “pear-shaped” buddies, whose extra pounds are located primarily in their hips and buttocks*.

So how do you measure the extent of your “fruitiness”, and discover where you stand on the continuum of health and disease? Enter the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). This easy, do-now calculation requires one flexible tape measure and an ordinary calculator. Simply measure your circumference at the narrowest part of your abdomen and then at the widest point of your hips. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement (in inches or centimeters). Use the chart below to interpret your finding.


MALE                          FEMALE                       HEALTH RISK

0.95 or below                0.80 or below                Low Risk

0.96 to 1.0                  0.81 to 0.85               Moderate Risk

1.0+                              0.85+                           High Risk

Now, if you are not pleased by what you see, then begin to take steps—even baby steps—towards slimming down your midsection. You can continue to use this method to measure your progress along the way.

*The exception is the increased incidence of osteoarthritis which occurs in the weight bearing joints of anyone who is overweight—regardless of their weight distribution.


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