Where is your waistline? New NHS and NICE health guidelines
NHS watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has announced new health guidelines for adults. Waist circumference should be less than half your height to reduce the risk of health problems.
The updated guidelines are part of an attempt to tackle obesity. Adults who have a body mass index ( BMI ) below 35 should measure their own height-to-height ratio.
NICE recommends using this height-to-height ratio along with your BMI to determine if you carry excess fat around your midsection. The new guidelines are introduced as the current cost of obesity to the NHS stands at £6.1billion and £27billion to society at large.
Read more: NHS says your waist should be less than half your height
Where is your size?
A natural waist is between the area of the abdomen, from the top of the hip bone to the bottom of the rib cage, where the lowest rib is. It’s usually a bit higher than your belly button.
Your waistline may be larger or smaller, which is related to genetics, your height, and lifestyle habits such as the food and drink you consume and how often you exercise . Another tip for your height is that it’s usually the smallest circumference of your natural waistline.
How to calculate your size to height ratio
You can convert your height measurement from feet and inches to centimeters. Then use a tape measure to measure your height in centimeters or convert the measurement from inches to centimeters. You must measure your waist size without any clothing that changes the result.
Be sure to halve your size and use that number to compare with your waist size. With the two numbers in centimeters you can clearly see if your waist size is less than half your height.
The new guidelines state that a healthy height ratio of 0.4 to 0.49 does not indicate any increased health risk. Meanwhile, a ratio of 0.5 to 0.59 puts people at increased risk for health problems, while a ratio of 0.6 or more puts them at the highest risk for problems.
You can also use an online calculator to determine what a healthy ratio is for you.
Why is my waist size important?
Waist circumference is the subject of much health commentary due to the effect of carrying a lot of fat around the waist. Excess fat in this area can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Groups of South Asian, Chinese, Asian, Middle Eastern, Black African, or Afro-Caribbean descent are all prone to carrying weight around the midsection and are at higher risk at lower BMIs. NICE also recommends that these groups use lower BMI thresholds to determine overweight and obesity.
Professor Rachel Batterham, member of the guidelines committee and consultant in obesity, diabetes and endocrinology, said: “Increased fat in the abdomen increases the risk of developing several life-threatening diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“Waist-to-height is a simple, easy-to-use measure that identifies people who are at increased health risk and who would benefit from weight management support to improve their health.”