The Waist to Hip Ratio

The waist-to-hip ratio, also known as waist-hip ratio, is the circumference of the waist divided by the circumference of the hips. 

Your waist-to-hip ratio might give you a better picture of your health than your weight or your BMI. You can be at a healthy weight but have too much fat around your midsection. A good rule of thumb is that your waist should be smaller than your hips, no matter your weight or BMI.   


The Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) gives an indication of where your body stores fat. Where and how much fat is stored in your body can seriously affect your health.

The ideal waist to hip ratio for women is below 0.8 and for men is less than 0.9. 

Research shows people who are “apple-shaped” are at a greater risk of certain health conditions than those who are “pear-shaped” (when the hips are wider than the upper body).

Conditions associated with increased waist-to-hip ratio: 

  • cardiovascular disease

  • cognitive decline

  • increased inflammation

  • smaller brain volume on MRI

Waist circumference and waist-hip ratio: Report of a WHO expert consultation. (2011, May 16). WHO | World Health Organization.