The ratio of waist circumference to hip circumference serves as a useful indicator in assessing the risk of developing health complications and diseases associated with obesity. Obesity and overweight, in fact, bring about a multitude of health risks.

What is it about? WHR or WHR Index. In short, it stands for waist-to-hip ratio. This ratio is translated as the ratio of waist circumference to hip circumference. To assist in the calculation, there are numerous WHR Index calculators available that easily compute this ratio once the necessary measurements are provided.

We can also calculate it ourselves by dividing the waist circumference by the hip circumference in centimeters. This calculation will give us the WHR Index. The formula looks as follows: Waist circumference / Hip circumference = WHR Index.

For example, let’s calculate the WHR with values in centimeters: Waist circumference is 70 cm, and hip circumference is 85 cm. Dividing 70 by 85 gives us a WHR of 0.8.

What is a suitable WHR Index? For men, the WHR ratio should not exceed 0.95, and for women, it should not exceed 0.85.

More accurate assessment of body structure

What purpose do such measurements serve when we already use the BMI index for a similar purpose? Although the Body Mass Index (BMI) is a commonly used indicator for assessing weight status, it is not entirely precise. Deviations occur, particularly in the case of individuals engaged in sports activities. For these individuals, the BMI may be elevated due to increased muscle mass, even though the index might suggest obesity. In such cases, a more accurate evaluation is needed, which is where the Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) comes into play.

WHR provides a more accurate assessment of body structure by considering the distribution of fat in the body, taking into account the ratio of waist circumference to hip circumference. This helps differentiate between central obesity, characterized by excess abdominal fat, and peripheral obesity, which refers to the accumulation of fat around the hips and thighs.

A high WHR index, indicating excessive abdominal fat, is associated with an increased risk of various health complications and diseases. Research has shown that individuals with a higher WHR are more prone to developing metabolic disorders, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

In women, a waist circumference greater than 80 cm is considered risky, indicating an increased likelihood of health complications. In men, an increased risk is indicated by a waist circumference exceeding 94 cm. These threshold values reflect the significance of central obesity in assessing health risks.

How to measure the data at home?

How should I measure the data needed for the table? When measuring body circumferences, there is a more comprehensive method recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), but in practice, it is also possible to use a simpler measurement method that provides sufficiently accurate results.

For waist measurement, it is recommended to place the measuring tape approximately 2.5 cm above the navel. This location is chosen based on the fact that fat often accumulates in the abdominal area, and measuring at this height provides information about the amount of fat in this region.

When measuring the hips, it should be done at the widest part of the area. It is important to position the measuring tape evenly and horizontally to ensure accuracy in measurement. This measurement takes into account the deposition of fat in the lateral areas of the body.

Hip measurements are taken at the widest point of the given area. It is important to place the meter evenly and horizontally to ensure measurement accuracy. This measurement takes into account fat deposits in the lateral areas of the body.

Methods of fat distribution

In general, there are 4 ways of fat distribution in the body. It can be peripheral mode of fat distribution, balanced mode of fat distribution, central mode of fat distribution and risky mode of fat distribution.

In the first case of the peripheral method of fat distribution, fat is deposited in the outer parts of the body, especially on the hips and buttocks. In women, the peripheral mode of fat distribution is often genetically determined. Peripheral obesity is more common in women. It generally does not cause serious health problems, but it can be an aesthetic concern for some women.

A balanced way of fat distribution is associated with a normal figure and an even distribution of fat throughout the body. People with balanced fat distribution have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in relation to their weight.

The central mode of fat distribution is characterized by the deposition of fat in the abdominal area. This type of fat distribution can already cause a change in figure from slim to cylindrical. Diet modification and sufficient physical activity are key to optimizing this fat distribution and minimizing related health risks.

A risky method of fat distribution is usually associated with a high risk of health complications. The degree of risk is directly related to the size of the abdomen. It is the size of the abdomen that can indicate the presence of obesity. A risky way of fat distribution is often associated with obesity and requires appropriate medical care and lifestyle changes.

This information about the different ways fat is distributed in the body is important for understanding the links between body composition and health. Each individual has their own fat distribution, and it is important to remember that aesthetic aspects do not always correlate with the health risks associated with obesity and body fat distribution.

BMI indicators and WHR supplementation

While BMI provides a general assessment of weight status, WHR gives us another look at the distribution of body fat, and this allows for a more comprehensive assessment. WHR is particularly useful in analyzing individuals who may have a high BMI due to increased muscle mass but are not obese.

Monitoring waist and hip circumference can serve as an early warning signal to prompt individuals and healthcare professionals to take proactive weight management measures and adopt a comprehensive approach to improving overall health.

Awareness of the serious health consequences of being overweight is key to promoting prevention, early intervention, and the adoption of healthy lifestyle modifications to mitigate the risks associated with obesity.

Health risks at elevated values

Increased waist circumference, especially in combination with increased hip circumference, indicates central obesity. This pattern is associated with a higher risk of metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. Abdominal fat, known as visceral fat, is metabolically active and releases harmful substances that can disrupt insulin function and lipid metabolism.

Waist circumference is a valuable indicator in assessing cardiovascular health. Excess abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. The release of pro-inflammatory substances from visceral fat contributes to the development of atherosclerosis, which leads to narrowing of blood vessels and deterioration of cardiovascular function.

Obesity, especially when excess weight accumulates in the chest and abdomen, can impair respiratory function. An increased waist circumference is associated with a higher incidence of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition characterized by breathing disorders during sleep. This can lead to fatigue during the day, impaired cognitive function and an increased risk of cardiovascular events.

Also, the extra pounds themselves cause additional load on the joints, which leads to an increased risk of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. Obesity-related joint problems commonly affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips, resulting in pain, limited mobility, and reduced quality of life.

Excessive load on the bones can also bring other symptoms, which are mostly the consequences of obesity. These include, for example, fatigue, swelling of the lower limbs, pain in the back and joints, especially in the lower limbs, sometimes there is also excessive sweating, or an increase in blood sugar, which may not occur in every person. Excessive storage of fat reserves is also manifested in the skin and hair, which are usually oilier than in a normal person.

Help and treatment of obesity

Of course, there is also help and treatment for obesity. It varies according to the patient’s age, grade and health status. Obesity treatment aims to achieve weight loss and reduce the health risks associated with overweight and obesity. It is important to remember that treating obesity is a long-term process and requires a lifelong lifestyle change.

Treatment principles for obesity vary depending on the causes. Most obesity is the result of a combination of unhealthy lifestyle, lack of physical activity and excessive food intake. Therefore, it is most important to focus on weight loss regimen measures.

Therapy often begins with non-invasive methods such as a diet plan and increased physical activity. If necessary, drug therapy or surgery can also be used, but these methods are considered individually and only after considering all factors and risks.

An important aspect of the treatment of obesity is the sufficient motivation of the patient not only to start a diet and an active lifestyle, but also to observe these changes in the long term. A supportive environment needs to be created and patients given the necessary tools and support to successfully achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Even a small weight loss can have a positive effect on health and quality of life. For example, losing one kilogram of weight in obese people can extend their life by about 3 months. This shows that every step towards a healthy weight is important.