Waist circumference is another predictor for the potential risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Measuring waist circumference is a simple check for excess abdominal body fat, also known as visceral fat. Carrying excess body fat in the abdominal area is riskier than body fat stored around the hips and thighs.
There is increased risk of health complications when waist circumference exceeds recommendations. The measurement of waist circumference can be a valuable tool when used in combination with BMI.
To measure waist circumference you will require a flexible tape measure, a belt, or a piece of string that can be measured with a ruler later. Here is a printable tape measure.
When measuring waist circumference, the tape measure should be placed directly on the skin or over light clothing. Measuring waist circumference over heavy clothing will result in an inaccurate measurement.
The correct place to measure waist circumference is halfway between the lowest rib and the top of the hip bone. This should align closely with the position of the belly button.
Make sure the measuring tape is tight against the body but without squeezing the skin. In some people carrying a large amount of excess weight, the position of the belly button can move. In this case, waist circumference should be measured at the narrowest point. Make a note of this position and ensure repeat measures are taken at the same point.