Waist Measurement Chart You'll Like to Refer To

Today, 66% of adults in the United States are considered overweight or obese. Are you sure you are not among them? This article tells you how to measure your waist and what does the measurement mean for your health. Take a look at the waist measurement charts for men and women, presented in this article.
FitnessVigil Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
You should calculate your BMI and know your waist size to know whether you are overweight. To measure your waist circumference:
  1. Stand straight and keep your heels together.
  2. Stand straight and bend to your side. The bend is your natural waist.
  3. Hold a measuring tape around your bare abdomen around your waist, just above your hipbone.
  4. The tape should be close to the abdomen (but should not exert pressure on your skin).
  5. The tape should be parallel to the floor.
  6. Keep your thumb behind the tape and do not pull it tight.
  7. Stand relaxed, exhale and measure your waist.
Waist Hip Ratio
When you divide waist size by the hip size, you get your waist-hip ratio (WHR). Studies show that the waist-hip ratio of any build is very strongly correlated to the perception of attractiveness across all cultures. Women with a 0.7 WHR (waist circumference is 70% of the hip circumference) are usually considered as more attractive by men from European cultures. Beauty queens Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and the Venus de Milo had WHRs around 0.7!

Waist to Hip Ratio Chart
In Females
Age Low Risk Moderate Risk High Risk Extremely High Risk
20-29 < 0.71 0.71-0.77 0.78-0.82 > 0.82
30-39 < 0.72 0.72-0.78 0.79-0.84 > 0.84
40-49 < 0.73 0.73-0.79 0.80-0.87 > 0.87
50-59 < 0.74 0.74-0.81 0.82-0.88 > 0.88
60-69 < 0.76 0.76-0.83 0.84-0.90 > 0.99
In Males
20-29 < 0.83 0.83-0.88 0.89-0.94 > 0.94
30-39 < 0.84 0.84-0.91 0.92-0.96 > 0.96
40-49 < 0.88 0.88-0.95 0.96-1.00 > 1.00
50-59 < 0.90 0.90-0.96 0.97-1.02 > 1.02
60-69 < 0.91 0.91-0.98 0.99-1.03 > 1.03

Doctors and dietitians use body mass index (BMI) and measurement of the waist to assess a person's risk of developing certain diseases, for instance, diabetes and heart disease. If your BMI is greater than 25, you are overweight. BMI equal to or greater than 30 indicates obesity.

Even if your BMI falls within the normal range, fat around waist takes you towards the danger zone. Fat around waist is more risky than fat in your hips and thighs. Carrying fat mainly around your waist increases your risk of developing health problems.

A Waist-to-Height Ratio Chart for Comparison

Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) = Waist Circumference/Height

WHtR basically measures the distribution of body fat. So, higher values indicate obesity-related diseases.
A WHtR of > 0.5 is critical for people above the age of 40 years. For people in the age group of 40-50, the decisive value ranges between 0.5 and 0.6, while for people above 50, the WHtR values begin at 0.6.

You may use the following average waist size ratios for comparison:

Subject Waist to Height Ratio
Barbie Doll 0.2500
Ken Doll 0.3600
College Swimmers, female 0.4240
College Swimmers, male 0.4280
Cut off for increased risk females 0.4920
General healthy cut off 0.5000
WHO increased risk, males 0.5360
WHO substantially increased risk, females 0.5410
WHO substantially increased risk, males 0.5820

Normal Waist Measurement
Studies show that women with a waist size of more than 35 inches; and men with a waist size of more than 40 inches have higher chances of diseases than people with smaller waist size. For a woman, 32 inches or less is considered as normal waistline. For a man, having waist 37 inches or less is considered normal. The ideal measurements for waist vary mainly according to age, height and race.

The aging process and genetic factors have a tremendous impact on a person's body shape. A woman's sex hormone levels also determine the fat distribution on her body. But still, with the help of balanced diet and regular waist exercises you can have normal waist measurement. You can always spend at least 10 minutes a day, focusing on your health, so that you can live healthier and longer. Healthy eating habits and increased physical activity can help reduce your waist.

Now that you have gone through the ideal waist measurement chart and checked your waist, you should set your goal of attaining perfect body shape. Regular exercise, balanced diet and stress-free lifestyle help maintain hormonal balance and can make you active and happy. You only decide, which body shape you want, apple, banana, pear or hourglass. Only a little bit of discipline and control over mind is needed to achieve the desired goal.