What is waist circumference?

waist circumference


  • Waist circumference is the measurement of the distance around the abdomen at the level of the belly button. It is used as an indicator of abdominal fat and disease risk.

Explanation of Waist Circumference

  • Waist circumference is considered a better indicator of health than just body weight. Carrying excess fat around the abdomen raises the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Normal waist circumference ranges are <35 inches for women and <40 inches for men. Values above that indicate an unhealthy amount of abdominal fat.


  • A man with a 42 inch waist circumference likely has excess abdominal fat.
  • A woman with a 32 inch waist circumference is within the healthy range.

Related Terms

Common Questions

  • How is waist circumference measured?
  • What does my waist circumference say about my health?
  • What is a healthy waist circumference?

Do Not Confuse With

  • Body weight – An overall measure not specific to abdominal fat
  • Hip circumference – Measured around the widest portion of the hips
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