You've heard about apple shapes and pear shapes as examples of fat distribution but do you know the importance of a simple measurement and how it relates to your brain as well as your your overall disease risk?
The waist to hip ratio can help track your weight loss progress, while also serving as a warning about your estimated health risk for problems related to being overweight, such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that the waist to hip ration is a better indicator of increased mortality risk than body mas index (BMI).
Why Waist To Hip Ratio Really Matters
1. The bigger the belly the smaller the brain's memory center, the hippocampus. If your hippocampus shrinks, so does your memory.
2. The higher the waist to hip ratio, the higher the risk for small strokes, which are associated with declining brain function.
3. A growing body of evidence links obesity, vascular disease, and inflammation to cognitive decline and dementia.
How to Measure and Calculate Waist To Hip Ratio
Using a measuring tape measure your waist (at the smallest circumference of your natural waist, just above the belly button). Measure your circumference of your hips (at the widest part of your buttocks). To determine your ratio, simply divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.
For example: if a woman had a waist measurement of 38 inches and her hip measurement was 45 inches-her waist to hip ration would be .84 which would put her at moderate health risk. See the chart below to determine your risk.
|Females||Estimated Health Risk|
|0.80 or below||Low|
|0.81 to 0.85||Moderate|
|0.85 or above||High|
|Males||Estimated Health Risk|
|0.95 or below||Low|
|0.96 to 1.0||Moderate|
|1.0 or above||High|
The waist to hip ratio is an excellent and simple way to determine your health risk and where you are carrying the majority of your weight. Studies now show that even moderate improvements with as low as reducing 10% of your weight will help to reduce your risk of major chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.