Waist to Hip Ratio: How to Calculate & Normal Ranges

The waist to hip ration (WHR) is a calculation that uses the waist and hip measurements to determine a person’s risk for developing heart disease. The higher concentration of abdominal fat, the higher the risk for problems like high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure or atherosclerosis. 

The combination of these diseases with excess abdominal fat can significantly increase the likelihood for serious health conditions, like a heart attack, stroke or fatty liver, all which can be life-threatening and lead to serious complications.

A high WHR can prompt the doctor to investigate for underlying illnesses causing it, and therefore it can be a useful tool for identifying health conditions or preventing them.

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How it is calculated

To calculate a waist to hip ration, you should use a measuring tape to evaluate: 

  • Waist circumference: The measurement is taken at the narrowest part of the waist, or the region between the last rip and the belly button.
  • Hip circumference: This measurement is taken at the widest part of the hips, by wrapping the tape around the glutes 

You should then divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference. 

Example: The waist circumference of a man is 65 cm and hip circumference is 80 cm. To calculate his WHR, the formula is 65/80 0 0.8125, or rounded to 0.81. This is considered to be normal (as the normal reference range is under 0.95). 

Waist to hip ratio calculater

Enter your measurements below to determine your WHR: 


In addition to the WHR, a BMI (body mass index) is also a good tool to evaluate the risk for illnesses related to obesity. Calculate your BMI using our online calculator. 

What results mean

WHR results will vary depending on sex. The maximum WHR for a healthy woman is below 0.80, and for a health man is below 0.95. 

Results that are equal to or over these values may indicate that the patient is at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. It is important that the higher the value, the higher the risk. In these cases, it is important to see a doctor for evaluation to rule out the presence of any cardiovascular diseases. You should also see a registered dietitian to formulate an eating plan that promotes weight loss. 

WHR reference ranges

Waist to hip ratio results vary depending on sex. They represent the risk a person has for developing cardiovascular disease. 

Health risk Women Men
Low Less than 0.80 Less than 0.95
Moderate 0.81 to 0.85 0.96 to 1.0
High Over 0.86 Over 1.0

It is important for weight loss to be monitored by a health care professional and that WHR measurements are retaken over time to ensure that the risk for disease is also decreasing. 

What to do for a high WHR

If your WHR is above the normal value, you should see a doctor for a full health assessment to evaluate whether an illness is contributing to the higher result. Seeing a registered dietitian is also advised, as he or she can help you create a meal plan that can promote weight loss and decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.