Tired of eating breakfast and feeling hungry after? We say F that - Measuring your waist for your weight loss

How to Measure Your Waist and What it Means About Your Health

How to measure your waist?


While the Body Mass Index (BMI) can give some inaccurate information and perhaps not specific to your body type, by measuring your waist you are directly assessing the area of fat storage that is of most concern. Abdominal fat is near your organs including your heart, and the greater the fat mass you store here the more dangerous it is and the more likely you are to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By reducing your weight to a level where your waist circumference is below the guidelines you will be a healthy weight no matter what your height or amount of muscle mass is.

If you are someone who stores a lot of their fat around the waist (e.g. a male) it can take approximately 1kg of weight loss for this to show up on a tape measure as approximately 1cm. For others who store fat in different areas of their body (e.g. females) you would be well advised to take further bodily measurements to track your progress (e.g. hips, thighs, arms, chest).

Hunters - by measuring your waist you are directly assessing the area of fat storage that is of most concern

To improve the accuracy of your waist measurements consider the following:

    • Measure your waist no more frequently than monthly

    • Measure after toileting and before any meals or large amounts of fluid consumption

    • Stand tall, breath normally and relax letting your shoulders fall and your abdominal muscles loosen

    • Lift clothing to expose your waist and run the tape over your skin

    • Undo or lower pants so they are not exerting pressure on the waist

    • Measure the waist at the belly button or just above it

    • Ensure that the tape measure is level running parallel to the floor

      © Intellectual property of Healthy Weighs Ltd 2000 - 2015. To be reprinted, copied or used with permission only: dane@eatfit.co.nz danefuller.com

    Maximum Waist Circumferences for a healthy weight

    • Female:

    • Male:

    European, Maori, PI European, Maori, PI Asian


    High risk > 88 cm High risk > 102 cm High risk > 80 cm High risk > 90 cm

    The Hip to Waist ratio gives an even more accurate assessment of your weight for your body type:

    1. Measure your hip circumference at its widest part

    2. Measure your waist circumference as above

    3. Divide your waist (cm) / hips (cm)


    • Low risk < 0.80

    • Moderate risk 0.80 0.85

    • High risk > 0.85


    • Low risk < 0.95

    • Moderate risk 0.95 - 1.0

    • High risk > 1.0

    Weighing Techniques for Weight Loss. Click here.

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment