" Heart diseases are the number 1 cause of death globally. Every year, about 17.9 million people die from heart disease."
A 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 and the 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. 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.
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Why Your Waist to Hip Ratio Is Important?
The Waist to Hip Ratio (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 less than 0.9. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), men with a WHR higher than 0.9 and women with a WHR above 0.8 are considered obese.
A study in Australia based on the data collected from 9,206 adults age 20 to 69 showed that waist to hip ratio can be used to predict the risk for death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD).
Heart diseases are the number 1 cause of death globally. Every year, about 17.9 million people die from heart disease. In the UK, 460 people die from heart disease every day. In the US, around 1,800 people die from heart disease every day. In Singapore, nearly 1 out of 3 deaths is due to heart disease or stroke (16 deaths per day).
Numerous studies suggested that a high 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 also been reported that women with a higher than 0.8 WHR have a lower pregnancy rate than women with a less than 0.8 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.
Compared to those with a pear-shaped body, people with an apple-shaped body have a higher proportion of body fat around the waist and abdomen. People with an apple-shaped body are more likely to suffer from various diseases associated with obesity. Nevertheless, regardless of your natural body shape, it is very important to maintain 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.
Having a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts helps stabilise weight and improve your overall health. Eat less sugar and refined 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, premature ageing skin and acne.
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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 to do and doesn't cost anything. I do it everyday, on the way to work and on the way home.
If you hardly exercise before, start slowly by walking for 30 minutes every day. You can increase the intensity and time when your body is ready. At anytime, stop exercising if you feel something is not right with your body. Pushing our body beyond limit can cause injury. If you are not sure how to start exercising, ask a qualified sport therapist or personal trainer for help.
To help lose fat faster, massage Anti-Cellulite Muscle Ease Slimming Oil in circular motion on the abdomen (tummy), upper arms, thighs and buttocks. You can apply the oil all over the body to firm and tone up the skin. Use daily after a bath or shower. It is suitable for women and men. Anti-Cellulite Muscle Ease Slimming Oil contains botanical essences to burn off fat, ease muscle stiffness and aching joints. It also helps reduce pain in people with arthritis.
3. Get Enough Sleep
A study by Harvard University involving 60,000 women over a 16 years period suggests 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. 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.
Sleep deprivation is one of the common causes of sleepiness and tiredness during the day. If you find it difficult to get enough sleep due to stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia or any other sleeping problem, stay active during the day. For many people, regular exercise helps reduce the time to fall asleep and increase the sleep quality. Don't exercise close to bedtime as it may disrupt a normal sleeping pattern. Try to finish exercise at least 90 minutes before bedtime. Make your bed and bedroom as comfortable as possible will greatly help too.
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Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with USA and UK at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips.
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Scientific 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; Singapore’s Approaching Tsunami of Cardiovascular Disease, NMRC Research Symposium 7th March 2017; UK Factsheet, July 2020, British Heart Foundation; Heart Disease Facts, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA.