Do you have too much fat on your belly and is it a health risk? Let’s calculate it and find out within ten seconds!
There’s no question about it: carrying too many pounds is a health risk. It raises your chances of heart disease, diabetes and early death.
But not all overweight was made equal, yet the popular body mass index (BMI, see here) doesn’t differentiate. It classifies a 200 lbs bodybuilder with 8% body fat as overweight as a sedentary guy of the same weigh. The formula makes no difference between weight from fat and weight from muscle.
That’s why doctors often use a second formula in conjunction with the BMI: the “WHR,” or “waist-to-hip ratio.” It gives you an idea how fat on your body is distributed.
How To Measure
First you measure your waist right above the navel, then you measure your hip at its widest point. Take these two numbers and put them into this calculator:
What The WHR Number Means
The bigger this number is, the more fat sits on your stomach – the so-called “apple type.” The lower the number, the more you tend toward a healthier “pear” shape. According to the World Health Organization you run a risk if…
- you are a man and your number is bigger than 0.9
- you are a woman and your number is bigger than 0.86
Why Is A High Waist-To-Hip Ratio Dangerous?
The “apple” fat is visceral, meaning it engulfs your organs, while the “pear” fat is subcutaneous and sits below your skin. And it’s especially the fat around the organs that’s detrimental to health. Men with a big waist, for example, are less fertile than men with a smaller one.
One reason the visceral fat does so much damage could be its location near the portal vein, that transports blood from the intestinal area to the liver. When your visceral fat releases fatty acids, they take that shortcut to your liver and then badly influence your production of blood lipids. Those lipids then joyride through your entire body.
If Your Number Is Too High
First of all, you can’t spot-reduce your waist by doing crunches or by buying and using one of those fitness gadgets that promise abdominal heaven on Earth. None of that works.
The route to a healthier weight and smaller belly doesn’t require you buying anything at all: despite thousands of diet gimmicks, weight loss is a very simple concept that can be done by anyone. Add a tiny bit of fitness on top and you get there faster.
Picture courtesy of Petr Kratochvil.