Waist Measurements

Why measure your waist?

Measuring your waist is a simple check to see how much body fat you have, and where it is placed around the body. The location of body fat can be an important indicator of your risk of developing certain chronic diseases. Whatever your height or build, an increased waistline is a sign you may be at greater risk of ongoing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers.


How to measure your waistline

  • Measure directly against your skin
  • Breathe out normally
  • The tape should be snug, without compressing the skin
  • Measure your waist half way between the lowest point of your lowest rib and the highest point of your hip bone. If you palpate at the side of your tummy you will feel these bony landmarks.

What does it mean?

No matter what your height, the following waist measurements suggest you could be at an increased risk of developing a chronic disease.


Increased Risk
Women: more than 80cm
Men: more than 94 cm

Greatly Increased Risk
Women: more than 88cm
Men: more than 102 cm


These waist measurements are recommended for Caucasian men and Caucasian and Asian women. Not enough research has been done on other groups for a definitive measurement to be established.

References: Australian Better Health Initiative. Fact Sheet: How do you measure up?

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