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What Is Waist-to-Hip Ratio?
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a measurement used to determine a personís level of obesity by evaluating the distribution of fat found in the midsection. It is calculated by measuring the smallest circumference of the natural waist, usually just above the belly button, and dividing by the hip circumference at its widest part of the buttocks or hip. The ratio is applied both to women and men.
The WHR has been used as an indicator or measure of the health of a person, and the risk of developing serious health conditions. Research shows that people with "apple-shaped" bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with "pear-shaped" bodies who carry more weight around the hips.
A WHR of 0.7 for women and 0.9 for men have been shown to correlate strongly with general health and fertility. Women within the 0.7 range have optimal levels of estrogen and are less susceptible to major diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and ovarian cancers. Men with WHRs around 0.9, similarly, have been shown to be more healthy and fertile with less prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
WHR has been found to be a more efficient predictor of mortality in older people than waist circumference or body mass index (BMI). If obesity is redefined using WHR instead of BMI, the proportion of people categorized as at risk of heart attack worldwide increases threefold.
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