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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 hip bone. This is usually at the level of your belly button. You are at increased risk for health problems if you are:footnote 1

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

Related Information



    1. Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Health Canada (2003). Canadian Guidelines for Body Weight Classification in Adults. Ottawa: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (Health Canada). Accessed June 22, 2015.


    Current as of: December 11, 2019

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

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