First, calculate your waist to hip ratio. Measure your waist at its smallest circumference. Measure your hips-buttocks at the largest circumference. Use the same measurement, centimeters or inches, for both. Divide the waist measure by the hip measure. The ratio 0.80 and below is healthy for women.
According to the AAFP, a small waist to hip ratio is an even better predictor of health than BMI. Women naturally have more fat than men or female primates. Abdominal fat for both me and women is more dangerous than hip fat. A 2008 study showed that lower body fat may even be healthy.
William D. Lassek of the Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh and Stephen J. C. Galli of department of Anthropology, University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study in 2008 about the waist to hip ratio. They concluded that women with a waist to hip ratio of about .70 are not only more attractive to men, they may be a bit smarter than women with a smaller waist to hip ratio. The study, which included more than 16,000 women aged 18 to 90 years between 1988 and 1994, is inconclusive. However, scientists pointed out again that excess waist fat is more dangerous than fat on legs and hips. Waist fat tends to contain omega-six fatty acids such as linoleic acid that may lead to inflammation. Leg and hip fat tends to be composed of omega three fatty acids, which are healthier. Omega six fatty acids have been linked to depression. A 1991 University of Pittsburgh study showed that a larger waist compared to the hips in middle-aged women was associated with cardiovascular risk such as smoking, low exercise levels, weight gain during adulthood, and higher caloric intake, and with anxiety and anger.
Some information for this blog post was obtained from http://www.e-healthcaresolutions.com/AAFP/dell-afp-0210-inter.php?url=http://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0601/p2046a.html and http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/papers/whrlassekgaulin2008.pdf.
Here is a chart form http://www.bmi-calculator.net/waist-to-hip-ratio-calculator/waist-to-hip-ratio-chart.php.
Male Female Health Risk Based Solely on WHR
0.95 or below 0.80 or below Low Risk
0.96 to 1.0 0.81 to 0.85 Moderate Risk
1.0+ 0.85+ High Risk
Disclaimer: None of the above information can be taken as a substitute for advice from a medical professional such as a physician.
My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on www.louizapatsis.com, http://www.authorhouse.com, www.bn.com and http://www.amazon.com. If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories.