Waist to Height Calculator

Health Risks and Waist to Height Calculations

This calculator can be used to figure out a person’s waist to height ratio, also known as WHtR. The calculator only needs three inputs, including:

  • Whether the calculator should use US Customary or Metric units of measure
  • The height of the person being measured in feet / inches or centimeters
  • The waist of the person being measured in inches or centimeters

The calculator then provides the user with two outputs:

  • The waist to height ratio, or WHtR, of the person being measured
  • A brown, green, yellow, or red health indicator for that ratio along with a standardized recommendation

Waist to Height Measurements and Increased Health Risks

A simple rule of thumb might be something like your waist circumference should be no more than half your height. This ratio has been a topic of discussion among the medical community for many years. Dr. Margaret Ashwell wanted to create more boundaries around this measurement. As part of her research, and subsequent studies, Dr. Ashwell developed a chart with three boundary lines separating these measurements into four groups:

  • Brown (Take Care): included WHtRs that were less than 0.40 where the warning here is that lower is not always better, and having a WHtR less than 0.40 may not be healthy.
  • Green (Okay): includes WHtRs that ranged from 0.40 to 0.50 where the assessment is that a ratio in this range is okay, or healthy
  • Yellow (Consider Action): includes WHtRs that ranged from 0.51 to 0.60 with the message to consider taking some action to reduce the size of the person’s waist. For children aged five through seventeen, the recommendation is to Take Action.
  • Red (Take Action): includes WHtRs more than 0.60 with the message to take action to reduce the size of the person’s waist

While this chart is considered suitable for adults over the age of eighteen, for children aged five through seventeen the recommendation for when falling into the yellow band would be Take Action as mentioned above instead of the recommended Consider Action for adults. Our calculator will not only supply the waist to height ratio but also the group into which that measurement falls.

Statistically, a person’s waist to height ratio was found to be a better predictor of coronary heart disease (CHD) than other risk factors such as waist to hip ratio or simply waist circumference. Coronary heart disease occurs when the arteries cannot supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This form of coronary heart disease is referred to as coronary artery disease and is often caused by the buildup of cholesterol. Coronary heart disease was found to be the leading cause of death in the United States.

Measuring Waist Circumference

The best approach to measuring waist size is to start with a tape made of fiberglass, such as those used for sewing. Waist measurement for males should be made across the belly button (naval), arms at the sides and made after a normal, relaxed exhale. Waist measurements for females are taken at the narrowest part of the abdomen, which is normally halfway between the belly button and breastbone. Once again, the measurement should be taken with arms at the sides and after a normal, relaxed exhale.