Waist-to-Height Ratio Calculator
Enter the circumference of your waist and your height to calculate your waist-to-height ratio.
Waist to Height Ratio:
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How to Calculate Waist-to-Height Ratio
The waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) is a simple and easy-to-use measurement of body fat in individuals over the age of 6.
WHtR identifies a specific type of body fat called central or abdominal adiposity. This refers to the fat tissue that is specifically around the midsection.
Central adiposity is associated with a higher risk of certain health conditions when compared to fat tissue that is around the lower body. This makes WHtR a useful measurement when assessing an individual’s health status in addition to identifying early health risks.
Waist-to-Height Ratio Formula
To calculate your waist-to-height ratio, you will divide your waist circumference by your height. Since this is a ratio, it does not matter if you use inches or cm.
waist-to-height ratio = waist circumference / height
Learn more about calculating ratios.
How to measure your waist and height
According to the World Health Organization, the waist measurement should be taken at the midpoint between the last rib you are able to feel and your iliac crest. You can also take this measurement near the belly button, at the smallest point of the waist.
The measuring tape should be stretch resistant and pulled tightly but not constricting. It is best to take this measurement over bare skin or with light undergarments while the individual is standing.
If you don’t already know your height, it is best if you have someone else measure it for you. Stand barefoot on a non carpeted surface with your back and heels up against the wall.
How to interpret your WHtR
The optimal waist-to-height ratio is 0.5 or less. This ratio indicates that from a health perspective, an ideal weight size should not exceed half of the height measurement. This is the universal cut-off for all individuals over the age of 6.
The greater your WHtR, the higher your degree of central adiposity, and therefore the greater your health risk.
It is important to remember that WHtR is just one of many factors that provide insight into an individual’s overall health status. In order to have a thorough assessment of your health, additional information should be gathered.
Waist-to-Height Ratio vs. BMI
BMI and WHtR are both anthropometric measurements. However, there are significant differences between the two.
BMI tends to be the most commonly used measurement to assess an individual’s weight classification and is calculated based on somebody’s height and weight (you can calculate your BMI here). However, the calculation for BMI is not as simple and easy to use as the WHtR equation.
Additionally, WHtR measures the distribution of body fat, whereas BMI does not. This differentiation is important because, as previously mentioned, weight that is distributed around the midsection poses more health risks than weight in the lower body.
There has also been research indicating that some individuals may fall within a “healthy” BMI range but have a WHtR that indicates they are in fact, at risk for certain health conditions. In this situation, BMI alone would have missed early warning signs of potential health problems.
Therefore, research supports WHtR over BMI as both a simple and more predictive indicator of the early health risks associated with central adiposity.
Waist-to-Height Ratio vs. Waist-to-Hip Ratio
Waist-to-height ratio and waist-to-hip ratio are both measurements of body fat distribution. Both ratios use waist circumference as a component of the calculation and are more specific than BMI.
However, the main difference between the two is that one compares waist circumference against height, and the other compares weight circumference against hip circumference.
This difference is notable in that people with shorter stature have higher amounts of body fat than taller people, even if they both have similar waist circumferences. Height has also been inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk, meaning taller people are at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Therefore, height is an important factor when determining somebody’s health risks.
You can use our calculator to find your waist to hip ratio.
- Yoo, E. G., Waist-to-height ratio as a screening tool for obesity and cardiometabolic risk, Korean Journal of Pediatrics, 2016, 59(11), 425. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27895689/
- 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(3), e010159. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010159
- World Health Organization, Waist Circumference and Waist-Hip Ratio, Report of a
WHO Expert Consultation, 8–11 December 2008, http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/44583/9789241501491_eng.pdf
- Healthline, How to Measure Your Height Accurately at Home, 2019, November 8, https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-measure-height
- Moosaie, F., Fatemi Abhari, S. M., Deravi, N., Karimi Behnagh, A., Esteghamati, S., Dehghani Firouzabadi, F., Rabizadeh, S., Nakhjavani, M., & Esteghamati, A., Waist-To-Height Ratio Is a More Accurate Tool for Predicting Hypertension Than Waist-To-Hip Circumference and BMI in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study, Frontiers in Public Health, 2021, 9, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.726288