Waist measurement

How do I measure my waist?

  • Measuring our waist circumference can be a simple way to identify our risk for health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease (Ref 1).
  • The more excess fat around our abdomen the greater the risk of these health conditions.

A waist measurement can easily be done in the following steps:

Use a stretch resistant tape

waist measurement
  1. Remove any belts and heavy outer clothing
  2. Keep your legs close together
  3. Relax
  4. Do the measurement directly over the skin
  5. Wrap the tape midway between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips (see picture 1)
  6. Keep the tape level and parallel to the floor at the point of measurement
  7. Do not pull the tape tightly
  8. Record your measurement on a piece of paper

What do your results mean?

Compare your measurements with the following recommended cutoff points for a healthy waist measurement in adults (Ref 2):

  • Men: below 94cm (37 inches).
  • Asian men: below 90cm (35 inches)*.
  • All women: below 80cm (31.5 inches).

*Body fat distribution can be different based on ethnicity.

If your measurements are higher than the recommended do not hesitate to ask your doctor for advice regarding ways of reducing the risk of health conditions. You might also like to read the sections on our website on healthy eating, increasing physical activity and losing weight, which may help

What if I am wrong?

If you have concerns about the accuracy of your measurements please do not hesitate to ask from your doctor, dietician or a nurse to perform the measurements for you and give you appropriate advice.


  1. World Health organisation (2008) Waist Circumference and Waist–Hip Ratio: Report of a WHO Expert Consultation, Geneva.
  2. “International Diabetes Federation”.