How well do you measure up?
There is a strong correlation between central adiposity [big waist] and
cardiovascular disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, the metabolic syndrome, Type-2 diabetes mellitus [T2DM], and many cancers.
The absolute waist circumference is a sensitive marker that could indicate you may not be as well as you think.
Changes occur at the molecular and vascular [blood vessel] level, long before you have symptoms or signs of disease. Having a large waist is the beginning of this metabolic and molecular change that sets you on your journey to a range of diseases that well and truly shorten your lifespan and quality of life. It is important to note that you cannot feel these early molecular changes - for all intents and purposes, you will function normally while these changes work in the background to clog your arteries and damage your organs.
The indicator above shows if you are at risk.
Pacific Islanders and Asian Populations
Please indicate if you are of Pacific Islander or Asian origin as the end-points are quite different in these ethnic groups and the indicator on this website can adjust for this automatically.
If your waist circumference is in the red section, you should consider discussing this with your general practitioner to see if blood tests for lipids [cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL], fasting blood glucose, kidney function and even fasting insulin levels are worth doing and to check your blood pressure to make sure you are not suffering from hypertension.
Where do I place the tape measure?
For both men and women, the 'waist circumference should be measured in a horizontal plane, midway between the inferior margin of the ribs and the superior border of the iliac crest.' [General Practice. Volume 8, Oct 2008. Elselvier]
In the graphic opposite, the tape measure is in the correct position --- simply find the lowest rib and then find the bony pelvic rim. The woman in the graphic on the left has her left index finger on this pelvic rim --- this gap is only about 8 cm wide. Remember keep the tape measure in the horizontal plane as shown in this graphic and not at an angle.
The deadliest diseases are often silent!
A fatal mistake of many individuals is to assume that because they feel well that they must be healthy. Diseases such as diabetes and hypertension [high blood pressure] are known as 'silent killers' why? because with these diseases you often feel 100% well, at least until that one fateful day when something goes wrong with your health that will change your life dramatically. This could be a stroke or kidney failure, a heart attack or the possibility of losing a limb due to gangrene. This simple measurement could indicate that you have changes in your blood or changes in receptor sensitivity such as insulin resistance, that will shorten your lifespan significantly. Some of the deadliest statements made are that you have a 'touch' of this or a 'mild' elevation in that. Any abnormal change in blood chemistry will lead to a slippery-slide towards cardiovascular disease unless you change your diet and lifestyle.
Your family history is important
Your family history is an important factor to take into consideration. If there is a history of heart disease, blood pressure or diabetes in the family, especially if these family members developed health problems early in life, then an increased waist circumference [central adiposity] is a strong indicator that you are at increased risk for one of these disease states.
Remember central adiposity also increases your risk for many cancers and chronic inflammation.
The NutriDesk 'Weight Management Diet'
Please have a look at the NutriDesk 'Weight Management Diet' if your waist circumference is in the range that is of concern. This diet not only targets your weight effectively if followed correctly, but provides you with a great insight into the many concepts, strategies and in-depth nutritional knowledge to ensure you have an optimal diet.
Calculate your waist-to-height ratio
You do this by dividing your waist measurement by your height. If your waist is 81 cm and your height is 168 cm then your waist-to-height ratio is 81/168 = 0.48. A ratio of less than 0.50 is considered healthy.