The bottom line is this - Your waist circumference (measured around your belly button) should be less than half your height. This means a WHR of 0.50 or less.
As an example, if your height is 175 cms (5 ft 9 inches), you should target a waist measurement of under 87.5 cms (34.5 inches).
But, what about BMI? BMI has traditionally been used but does not work very well, just see the image below. Per BMI, both Arnold and Danny are the same - but are they 🤔? The WHR tells the real story!
Remember, to calculate the WHR you must measure your waist around your belly button (and not your trouser size). To see how to do this, check out this article on how to take waist and other measurements.
There has been extensive research since the 1990s on the use of Waist-to-height ratio (WHR) as an indicator of health status (and to spot health risks early) and using WHR in addition to/instead of BMI and other measures. The research indicates that WHR appears to be a more predictive indicator of health risks by using a simple boundary value of WHR of 0.5. Or as we said at the start - Your waist circumference should be less than half your height!
A number of countries around the world are already using WHR to track the health status of their populations. The research continues but we know enough to say that WHR is a helpful number to track (and it is so easy to measure!). Which is exactly why you will see your WHR on your D9 Reports!
Here's a sneak peek at our WHR report:
We would suggest that you target a WHR under half. Don't worry if you are not there right now - the D9 system has been built to get you there!
Dr Margaret Ashwell, OBE was one of the earliest advocates for the use of WHR and has developed The Ashwell Shape Chart to track WHR (click the link to open and save the chart on your device). One of the D9 founders also had the privilege of meeting Dr Ashwell to discuss her research 😊.
BMI - We saw above that BMI does not work very well. It's also not easy to calculate or understand.
Body weight - This is one number that is very easy for most people to measure. However, it's not very meaningful in isolation. As an example, all of the below women weigh the same - who is healthy and who is not? 🤔 Including your height fixes this in the WHR and by using a simple cut-off point of 0.50 we get a much better picture of health status. That is why we measure and track WHR in the D9.
- ASHWELL, M. & GIBSON, S. 2016. Waist to height ratio as an indicator of 'early health risk': simpler and more predictive.
- ASHWELL, M., MAYHEW, L., RICHARDSON, J. & RICKAYZEN, B. 2014. Waist-to-height ratio is more predictive of years of life lost than body mass index.
- Ashwell M, Gunn P, Gibson S: Waist-to-height ratio is a better screening tool than waist circumference and BMI for adult cardiometabolic risk factors.