Measure body fullness correctly: BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio

Excess kilos can make you sick. The risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke and some cancers increases. But the weight alone is not decisive.

To assess the individual risk, a visit to the family doctor will provide clarity. The doctor measures blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides. If two or more values ​​are too high, it may be an indication of poor nutrition, little exercise or too much weight.

Various measurements can also be used to determine if fat pads are a problem. Here you can find out what to consider and how to evaluate the results.

Waist circumference: measure of belly fat

  • Measure: It is measured in the middle between the iliac crest and the lower ribcage. Exhale in advance, look ahead.
  • Assess: A value of less than 80 cm is considered ideal for European women and less than 94 cm for men.obesity is present if the waist circumference is at least 88 cm for women and at least 102 cm for men.
  • Assess: The waist measurement takes into account that belly fat is particularly dangerous. Because it is normally found in the organs when the levels are high.

Waist-to-hip ratio: Keep an eye on hip fat

  • Measure: The waist circumference (see above) is divided by the hip circumference. The latter is roughly measured at the level of the greater trochanter of the femur: the widest part of the hip area.
  • Assess: The ratio should ideally be less than 0.85 for women and less than 0.90 for men.
  • Assess: Some experts consider this value to be even more meaningful than waist circumference, but the measurement is less practical.
Waist-to-hip ratio: after the measurement, divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference

Waist-to-hip ratio: after the measurement, divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference

Waist circumference to height ratio

  • Measure: Measure your waist and divide by your height. Age also plays a role here.
  • Assess: If you are under 40, the result should not exceed 0.5. From the age of 40, there is an additional 0.01 per life years up to the critical value. At 41 it is 0.51, at 42 it is 0.52, and so on. From the age of 50, anything above 0.6 is considered critical.
  • Assess: The data situation is still relatively small. However, for many people, the topic of waist height is interesting. Especially very tall people often ask themselves if they really need to have a waist circumference of less than 102 centimeters.

Body Mass Index (BMI): Good starting point

  • Measure: BMI is calculated as follows: You multiply your height in meters by yourself, then divide your body weight by the result.
    body weight (kg)
    (height (m) x height (m) )
  • Assess:
    Example: man or woman, 70 kg, 1.73 m tall: 1.73 x 1.73 = 2.99;
    70 ÷ 2.99 = 23.4
    Values ​​between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered normal weight. Over 25 is overweight, over 30 obesity.
  • Assess:
    The BMI does not take into account age, sex, muscle mass or body fat distribution. It can therefore be misleading, but is a good starting point in the field of obesity.

Type question: The different types of obesity

Look at yourself naked in the mirror and compare yourself to the chart below. Apple or pear or even an olive with a stalk? If the body fat is mainly in the abdominal area (apple type and olive type), the health risk increases. Fat on the hips and buttocks (pear type) is relatively harmless.

Professor Norbert Stefan, diabetes expert, demonstrates how to measure hip circumference

Professor Norbert Stefan, diabetes expert, demonstrates how to measure hip circumference

Conclusion: BMI does not distinguish between muscle and fat, but is considered a good indicator of overweight. If you measure your waist and hips regularly and step on the scale more often, you can keep an eye on your weight. However, it is also important to have the crucial medical values ​​checked regularly by the doctor. If two or more are elevated, you likely have unhealthy belly fat.

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