Measuring your waist is a quick, simple and powerful tool that you can do at home to help understand your chronic disease risk.
How does it determine your health risk? Your waist measurement indicates the level of fat deposits around your heart, kidneys, liver, digestive organs and pancreas. These deposits can increase the risk of chronic diseases
Generally, in adults the larger your waist circumference, the higher your risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
These measurements do not apply to children, pregnant women or people from certain ethnicities, who naturally have different body shapes. If you are an Indigenous Australian, Pacific or South Sea Islander or Asian it is recommended you talk to your doctor for more information.
One simple check. Measure your waist to determine chronic disease risk
What measurements determine risk? Based on World Health Organization and National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations, waist measurements greater than:
94 cm / 37 inches or more for men
80 cm / 31.5 inches or more for women
indicates a higher level of fat deposits and increased risk of chronic disease.
To measure your waist circumference:
use a tape measure
remove bulky clothing (jacket, coat etc), loosen your belt and empty your pockets.
stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
wrap the tape around your belly, directly against your skin and breathe out normally.
place the tape measure halfway between the bottom of your lowest rib and the top of your hip bones, roughly in line with your belly button. It should be loose enough for you to be able to slip a finger inside the tape.
record your waist measurement in centimetres.
What to do next Measuring your waist is an important proactive step for your wellbeing. In addition, set aside some time to do a health self assessment including your daily exercise routine, mental health, eating, drinking and sleep patterns.
Your doctor will ask you about your lifestyle
If your waist measurement is higher than recommended, talk to your doctor about your individual risk, your health self assessment and what you can do to be proactive about your health.