Our waist to height ratio calculator estimates your waist-height ratio, which is a simple, yet effective, indicator of centralized obesity and any associated cardiometabolic risk. Read on to find tips on how to measure waist. You can also check your body shape using our body shape calculator.

Why is waist-height ratio important?

The waist to height ratio is a measure of the distribution of body fat. The higher someone's waist-height ratio is, the higher their risk of obesity-related cardiovascular diseases, as it is a rough estimate of obesity. Studies have found that a person's waist-height ratio is a good indicator of their risk of heart attack, stroke or death, while its link to diabetes hasn't been proved yet. Other indicators of abdominal obesity are body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio. This review, which covers all cardiometabolic outcomes from studies in fourteen different countries, set the following cut-off values for WtHR:

  • 0.50 for men; and
  • 0.50 for women.

Shape chart based on waist-to-height-ratio

After research showed that WHtR was as good a predictor of health outcomes as waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, a simple "Shape Chart" was produced:

The Ashwell® Shape Chart based on waist-to-height ratio

Diagram description:

  • Waist circumference is presented along the x axis and height on the y axis.

  • Chart is suitable for adults and children over 5 years old.

  • The cut-off values for waist-to-height ratio are set at WHtR 0.4 (brown to green), 0.5 (green to yellow) and 0.6 (yellow to red).

  • The brown area indicates Take Care - you might be underweight, no need to decrease your waist circumference.

  • The Green area indicates OK.

  • Yellow area indicates Consider Action for adults and Take Action for children.

  • Red area indicates Take Action.

The chart presented above was created by Margaret Ashwell and comes from the following publication:

How to measure your waist?

According to the WHO's data gathering protocol, the waist circumference should be measured at the midpoint between the last palpable rib and the top of the iliac crest, using a stretch‐resistant tape.

Practically, the measurements are usually taken at the smallest circumference of the natural waist, usually just above the belly button.

What does waist to height ratio calculator do?

The waist-height ratio is calculated as waist measurement divided by height measurement, W ÷ H, in centimeters. For example, a person with a 28 in (71 cm) waist and 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) height has a waist–height ratio of 0.42.

Małgorzata Koperska, MD