As the conveniences of modern life and the preference for junk food continue to rise in all parts of the world, there is an alarming trend gradually coming to light — nearly half of the adult population and one quarter of children worldwide are overweight.
The grave health risks of being overweight include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, sleep disorders, gallbladder disease, increased possibility of type-2 diabetes and back and joint pain. In addition, severely over-weight women are more likely to develop endometrial, breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. Over-weight men too have their share of health issues — increased risk of prostate and colon cancer.
It is not just the overweight people who face such problems. Being underweight can also expose you to various health problems like weak bones prone to fractures, decreased immunity to ward off infections and ailments, fertility problems, anemia and hair loss.
To ensure health, strength and immunity, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. However, a healthy body weight does not suggest a single number, but rather a weight range depending on one’s height and build that would ensure a minimum of weight-related health issues.
Today, there are several methods that analyze a person’s weight to determine how healthy he is. The two most popular methods are Body Mass Index (BMI) and hip to waist ratio. Of these the BMI cannot be termed entirely accurate since it simply compares a person’s weight to his height and build — there is no way to confirm if the person’s body weight is more of body fat or lean muscle mass. That is where the significance of the hip to waist ratio method comes in.
Understanding And Calculating Hip-To-Waist Ratio
The hip to waist ratio is one of the most accurate methods to determine how much body fat one carries and in what parts of the body. In fact, this method is one of the best methods to monitor visceral fat — a kind of hard-to-burn-off body fat that accumulates around the stomach. As the name suggests, the hip to waist ratio simply refers to the ratio of the hip measurement to the waist measurement. The calculation is easy. Use a measuring tape to take the waist and hip measurements. Measure the waist at its smallest part — usually a few centimeters above the navel. Next, measure the hip at its widest part — including around the buttocks. Now divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement to get your hip to waist ratio. ( or use our hip to waist calculator )
To ensure healthy weight, men must ideally have a hip to waist ratio of 1.0 or below and women must have a ratio of 0.8 or below. Men and women above these ideal limits have excess abdominal body fat and are usually advised to start weight loss plans.
Attaining The Ideal Hip-To-Waist Ratio
While on a weight loss plan, it is important to lose the unwanted body fat accumulated in various parts of the body. The location of fat deposits in the body directly affects the risk of developing health problems. For instance, people with fat accumulated in the abdomen (resulting in the ‘apple-shaped’ body) face more risk of heart disease than people with fat accumulated in the hip region (causing the ‘pear-shaped’ body). While traditional methods of comparing the weight and health do not consider this fact, the hip to waist ratio pays attention to how health can be differently affected by where the body fat has accumulated.
Today, experts recommend high intensity workouts as the most effective technique to eliminate abdominal fat. It is however important to check with your doctor to confirm if you are healthy enough to take up rigorous exercise sessions. In most cases, the exercise regimen will have to be combined with a healthy diet. Some people also include weight loss supplements to help burn off the fat faster.