The waist to hip ratio is a measure that assists in
evaluating the distribution of fat around the torso, which
conequently provides information on the risk of
developing health problems related to being overweight.
The waist to hip ratio is calculated by measuring the
circumference of the waist and hip and then dividing the
waist measurement by the hip measurement.
Circumference is the size of something as given by the
distance around it.
The waist to hip ratio is important in assessing health risk in overweight people because
it is not only being overweight but how and where the weight is distributed that poses a
health risk. If one is obese and carries more weight around the waist, the personís body
is classified as apple-shaped. If one is overweight and carries more weight around the
hips, the personís body is classified as pear-shaped. In general, those with more weight
around the waist are at increased risk for many diseases than those with more weight
around the hips. Such diseases include heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and
People who are apple-shaped are more likely to have high levels of LDL cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance found only in animal tissues. LDL stands for low-
density lipoprotein. LDL is called the "bad cholesterol" because, together with other
substances it can form plaques (hard, thick deposits) in the walls of arteries, leading to
blockages. Arteries are blood vessels that pump blood away from the heart.
It is important to note that there are some conditions, such as sleep apnea and osteoarthritis that are more
likely to occur in overweight people, regardless of how the fat is distributed. Sleep apnea is a disorder in
which the person does not breathe for periods of time while sleeping. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the
joints that is made worse by stress. A joint is a place where two bones contact each other.