Waist to Height Ratio

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Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR) measures the distribution of body fat. It can distinguish between apple and pear body shapes and is suitable even for children over 5 years old.

Due to the limitations of the Body Mass Index (BMI) measure, it has been suggested that Waist Circumference (WC), Waist to Hip Ratio (WHpR) or Waist to Height Ratio may be useful supplements to BMI to identify health risks. Moody (2016)

Schneider et al. (2010) conclude that WHtR represents the best predictor of cardiovascular risk and mortality, followed by WC and WHpR.

Ashwell et al. (2016) state that studies involving more than 300,000 adults in several ethnic groups show the superiority of WHtR over Waist Circumference and BMI for detecting cardiometabolic risk factors in both sexes. Dr Ashwell’s message is “Keep your waist to less than half your height.”

Our WHtR calculator uses Ashwell’s simplified ranges for both genders.

Underweight below 0.40
Healthy 0.40 to 0.49
Overweight 0.50 to 0.59
Obese Over 0.60 and above

See also:  Measuring your waist


2016, Ashwell M, Gibson S. Waist-to-height ratio as an indicator of ‘early health risk’: simpler and more predictive than using a ‘matrix’ based on BMI and waist circumference BMJ Open 2016;6:e010159. Doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010159. Retrieved from http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/3/e010159

2012, Ashwell, M., Gunn, P. and Gibson, Waist-to-height ratio is a better screening tool than waist circumference and BMI for adult cardiometabolic risk factors: systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 13: 275–286. Retrieved from https://doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00952.x

2016 December 14, Moody A., Health Survey from England 2015 Adult overweight and obesity. Retrieve from https://digital.nhs.uk/media/30012/Health-Survey-for-England-2015-Adult-overweight-and-obesity/Any/HSE2015-Adult-obe pdf  ISBN: 978-1-78386-896-4

2010, Feb 3. Schneider HJ, Friedrich N, Klotsche J et al. The Predictive Value of Different Measures of Obesity for Incident Cardiovascular Events and Mortality. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2010;95:1777–1785.


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Special thanks to G. Salcı and Y. Herrera for the translations into Turkish and Spanish respectively, and U. Waywell for editing texts in English.

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