What should be a healthy waist size for your height?

It is important that you know your waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. Why, you ask? That is because, according to research, it is one’s waist circumference that can be indicated obesity, predict disease risk, and ascertain overall health status. Also, it is a good estimate of visceral fat, the dangerous internal fat that coats the organs.

Highlighting the importance of understanding and knowing the waist circumference, Dr Noorie, a consultant radiologist, wrote on Instagram, “A large waist circumference is a red flag for excessive abdominal fat, which is associated with obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes , high cholesterolhigh triglycerides, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.”

Here are things you must know about your waist circumference, as per Dr Noorie:

*Waist circumference is a good measure of fat around your middle. This type of fat builds up around your organs, and is linked to high blood fat levels, high blood pressure and diabetes.

*Waist circumferences and waist-to-hip ratio are effective screening tools used to assess the risk of developing potential diseases, which can reduce your quality of life and life expectancy.

What should be a healthy waist size for your height?

Ideally, your waist measurement should be less than half of your height. For example, if you’re 5 foot 6 inches or 66 inches, your waist circumference should be less than 33 inches.

According to the American Heart Association & National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, abdominal obesity can be diagnosed when the waist circumference measures more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women. On the other hand, the waist to hip ratio in women should be less than 0.85 and in men less than 0.9, as per the World Health Organization.

Causes of a high waist circumference

Waist circumferences Various lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and quitting smoking can help reduce waist circumference. (Source: Freepik)

A larger waist circumference is often caused by intra-abdominal visceral fat, which develops between and around the internal organs.

According to Dr Samrat Shah, Consultant Internist, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai, “Obesity, lack of physical activity, a sedentary lifestyle, excess alcohol consumption, excess consumption of saturated and trans-fat can lead to a large waist circumference.”

This type of fat differs from “regular” fat that sits just beneath the skin and can be pinched. This type of fat is deep within the abdomen and is considered to have very high inflammatory activity.

Fat cells secrete adiponectin, a protein hormone which improves insulin sensitivity and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and diabetes. However, less adiponectin is produced as fat cells increase.

Similarly, if you are physically, mentally or emotionally stressed, you may have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronically elevated levels cause your body to deposit more visceral fat in the abdomen.

Risks of having a large waist circumference:

*Type 2 diabetes
* Cardiovascular disease
*High blood pressure
*Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia
* Blood fat disorders
*Dementia
*Impaired pulmonary function
* Metabolic syndrome
*Certain types of cancer

How to trim your waist

“Various lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and quitting smoking can help reduce waist circumference,” said Dr Shah, adding the best exercises to trim your waist are planks, yoga and high-intensity interval training.

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