What is waist-to-hip ratio?

Overweight woman measuring waist



  • WHR is calculated by dividing the waist circumference by hip circumference. A higher ratio indicates more abdominal fat storage over hip and gluteal fat.
  • Research shows that carrying excess weight around the abdomen is associated with higher risks of obesity-related diseases compared to storing fat in the hips and thighs.


  • A WHR of 0.67 to 0.80 in women and 0.80 to 0.95 in men is considered optimal.
  • A WHR of >0.80 in women and >0.95 in men indicates high disease risk.

Related Terms

  • Abdominal obesity : A condition characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the abdominal area. It is associated with increased risk of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.
  • Body fat distribution : The pattern of how body fat is distributed across different parts of the body. Two main patterns are android (apple-shaped) and gynoid (pear-shaped).
  • Apple body shape : A body type characterized by more fat stored around the abdominal area and upper body. People with apple shapes tend to have broader shoulders and narrower hips.
  • Pear body shape : A body type characterized by more fat stored around the hips, buttocks and thighs, creating a bottom-heavy silhouette. People with pear shapes tend to have narrower shoulders and broader hips.

Common Questions

  • Is WHR or waist circumference more important? Both waist circumference and WHR are important measures of abdominal obesity and health risks. Waist circumference alone provides a good indication of your risk for obesity-related diseases. But WHR provides additional information by taking into account your hip circumference. For the same waist circumference, a larger hip circumference (smaller WHR) is associated with lower health risks compared to a smaller hip circumference (larger WHR).
  • How do I calculate my WHR? To calculate your WHR, measure your waist circumference at the natural waist, which is usually at the smallest part of the abdomen, just above the belly button. Then measure your hip circumference at the widest part of your buttocks. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. For example, if your waist is 32 inches and your hips are 40 inches, your WHR is 32/40 = 0.8.
  • What is a healthy WHR? A WHR of 0.9 or less for men and 0.85 or less for women is considered low risk. A WHR above 1.0 for men or 0.85 for women indicates an increased risk for obesity-related health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The optimal WHR is 0.8 or below for men and 0.7 or below for women. Losing belly fat and building muscle in the hips and buttocks can help lower your WHR.

Do Not Confuse With

  • BMI – A height-weight ratio that does not consider fat distribution
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