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Measuring Your Waist

Topic Overview

Your waist size can be an important measure of health.

Waist circumference

Waist circumference is an indirect indicator of intra-abdominal fat tissue, often called visceral fat. A large waist circumference is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease because of excess abdominal fat.

To measure your waist circumference, place a tape measure around your body at the top of your hipbone. This is usually at the level of your belly button. You are at increased risk for health problems if you are:

  • A man with a waist measurement greater than 40 in. (102 cm).
  • A woman with a waist measurement greater than 35 in. (88 cm).

Related Information

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Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator