Your waist circumference, or the length around your midsection, is a valuable piece of knowledge in determining your health risk due to excess body fat. A study done by the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada found that a person's waist circumference is a better indicator of potential health problems than body mass index. While a waist circumference measurement is not a direct measurement of abdominal body fat percentage, keeping track of this measurement can show your health and fitness improvements over time during a consistent exercise routine.
Waist Circumference Measurement
Stand upright and relaxed. Make sure your posture is straight up and down with no bending or slouching. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides.
Find the measurement site. You can find your true natural waist by following the horizontal line of your belly button. To make sure you have the correct spot, place your hands on your hips and bend sideways. Where your waist indents or bends from is your natural waist.
Measure with the tape measure. Have a partner do the actual measurement so that you can remain standing straight up. Have your partner place one end of the measuring tape right at your belly button and wind it around your waist until the tape measure comes back to overlap with the end. Do not cinch the tape measure tight, but simply let the tape rest on your skin for the measurement.
Record the measurement. Keep track of your waist circumference over time to see changes.
- For an accurate result, make sure the tape measure is completely horizontal during the measurement and not sagging down your back.
- If you are comfortable, lift your shirt up to get a true measurement. It is best to perform this measurement with no clothing around the waist to prevent an overestimation of circumference measurement.