Measuring the waist circumference helps to screen for possible health risks that can come with being overweight. If most of the fat is around your waist and not your hips, the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes increases. The risk increases with a waist size great than 35 inches for a woman and 40 inches for men. To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.
Risk factors include: High blood pressure (hypertension), High LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), Low HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), High triglycerides, High blood glucose (sugar), Family history of premature heart disease, Physical inactivity and Cigarette smoking. For individuals who are considered obese (with a BMI great than or equal to 30) or those who are overweight (BMI of 25-29.9) and have two or more risk factors, it is highly recommended to lose weight. Just a small weight loss of 5-10 percent of your weight will help lower your risk for developing diseases associated with obesity. Take a moment to talk with your doctor to evaluate your increase risks if your are overweight. Just remember, even a small weight loss can have a huge impact on your health risks.