Measuring your waist is helpful way to get an idea of whether you have an increased risk of health problems from too much fat (see Table 1).

Table 1: Cut-points for waist circumference

Men ≤ 94 cm ≥ 102 cm
Women ≤ 80 cm ≥ 88 cm

Whatever your body mass index (BMI), the bigger your waist circumference is, the higher the likelihood that you will develop an obesity-related health problem. The waist can be measured in different ways, but the way that is used to decide whether you have a healthy waist size is to measure around your waist at the halfway point between the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your lowest rib (that means roughly in line with your belly button). Figure 2 presents some tips on how to measure waist circumference accurately.

Figure 2: How to measure your waist


Source: © ElenaNaum -

It is reasonable to measure your waist circumference from time to time, for instance once a month. Also, keeping an eye on fit of clothes might be a helpful, yet a less precise, way to get an idea if you are putting on weight. It is recommended to self-monitor your weight at least once a week for weight loss and weight management (for all people).