Keep the size of your waist to less than half of your height

New draft guidance from health body NICE released last week recommends that we should keep our waist measurement to half our height to reduce our risk of ill health.

Knowing our height to waist ratio is important as having more fat storage around our waist is linked to increased risk of ill health such as Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that using this measurement alongside BMI is useful to assess and predict health risks.

“We know that increased fat in the abdomen increases the risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, even in young children." Dr Nivedita Aswani, consultant paediatrician

How do I measure my waist?

To correctly measure waist circumference:

  1. Stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hip bones.

  2. Make sure tape is horizontal around the waist.

  3. Keep the tape snug around the waist, but not compressing the skin.

  4. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

The draft guidance, which is now open to consultation, also recommends lower BMI thresholds for people from South Asian, Chinese, other Asian, Middle Eastern, Black African, or African-Caribbean origin compared to the general population. This is because these ethnic groups have a higher tendency for storing fat around their waist and have been found to be at more risk of developing ill health from a lower BMI compared to the rest of the population.

NHS Better Health has lots of advice on making changes to your lifestyle to help you lose weight. It encourages us to make small changes to what and how much we are eating, as well as moving more, that will make a big difference in the long term.

By registering with Get Healthy Rotherham, you can gain access to advice and support on how to reach and maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, become more physically active, quit smoking and live a healthier lifestyle. Click the register button to find out more.