The low proportion of waist to hip size is often seen as an ideal body feature, particularly in women. However, far more than just an aesthetic value, having a low waist to hip ratio brings significant health benefits.
What is Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)?
Waist to Hip Ratio is a comparison between the circumference of your waist andthe circumference of your hip.
To get the right ratio, you need to measure the smallest circumference of your natural waist. Usually, it is located about one inch above your belly button. To get the right measurement, you need to breathe normally and exhale. Don't hold your tummy, just relax then take the measurement.
For the hip circumference, measure the widest part of your buttock or hip.
If your waist is measured at 75 cm and your hip is measured at 100 cm, then your waist to hip ratio is 0.75.
Why Your Waist to Hip Ratio Is Important?
WHR gives an indication 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 below 0.9.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), men with a WHR higher than 0.9 and women with a WHR higher than 0.8 are considered obese.
A study in Australia based on the data collected from 9,206 adults age 20 to 69 showed that WHR can be used to predict the risk for death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD).
Numerous studies also suggested that a higher WHR (0.85 or higher in women, 1 or higher in men) increases the risk of various diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
It has been reported that women with a higher than 0.8 WHR have a lower pregnancy rate than women with a lower WHR, regardless of their BMI (Body Mass Index).
The Link between Body Shape and Waist to Hip Ratio
For some people, their body tends to store fat on the hips, butt and thighs. Hence, they tend to have a lower WHR compared to other people with the same height and weight.
On the other hand, for others, their body tends to store fat on the waist and abdomen. Therefore, they tend to have a higher WHR compared to other people with the same height and weight.
For people with an apple-shaped body, as their body tends to store fat around the waist and abdomen, they are more likely to suffer from diseases associated with obesity.
Nevertheless, regardless of your natural body shape, it is very important to have a healthy waist to hip ratio.
How to Have a Healthy Waist to Hip Ratio?
1. Eat a balanced diet
People who are overweight, are more likely to have a higher waist to hip ratio than those who have a healthy weight.
Eat less refined sugar and carbohydrates. Keep sweets, biscuits, cakes, white rice and fizzy drinks or sodas for special occasions. High consumption of sugar can trigger various inflammatory conditions like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis pain, premature ageing and acne.
Eat more healthy foods as mentioned in Best Foods for Healthy, Youthful Body and Skin. A balanced diet helps stabilise your weight and improve your overall health.
2. Exercise Moderately
Exercise in moderation helps to get rid of the extra fat around your waist. My favourite exercise is speed walking. It is so easy and doesn't cost anything. I do it everyday, on the way to work and on the way home.
3. Get Enough Sleep
A study by Harvard University involving 60,000 women over a 16 years period, found that people who get enough sleep are less likely to suffer from obesity.
People who don't get enough sleep may be too tired to exercise. They also may eat more than those who get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation is one of the common causes of dark circles under the eyes. If you suffer from dark circles and puffy eyes, use a Caffeine-based eye cream like PariQu Rosehip Eye Cream to improve the skin condition around your eyes.
A study showed that caffeine reduces the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles while also increases skin elasticity.
In general, adults need 7 to 8 hours sleep everyday. Getting enough sleep is not only good for your health, it helps keep your skin looking radiant.
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Sources: Waist–hip ratio is the dominant risk factor predicting cardiovascular death in Australia, The Medical Journal of Australia, 2003: 179 (11): 580-585; Female Mate Value at a Glance: Relationship of Waist-to-Hip Ratio to Health, Fecundity and Attractiveness, Neuroendocrinology Letters, Special Issue, Suppl.4, Vol.23, December 2002.