What is your Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)?
The waist to hip (WHR) ratio is obtained from dividing the circumference of the waist (the narrowest point between the hips and ribs) by the circumference of the hips (the widest part of the hips).
A higher WHR generally indicates that you are carrying too much fat around your waist compared to your hips. Given that research has found a strong correlation between a high waist circumference and increased visceral fat, decreasing your waist circumference should be a priority when trying to improve your body composition.
Evidence has found that those with a higher WHR have a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and other health problems.
If you have heard of body shapes described as apple or pear, these are two ends of the WHR spectrum where pear has a lower WHR ratio and therefore lower risk for certain health issues and an apple has a higher WHR and therefore increased risk. Genetics will play a role in whether you naturally have an apple or pear shape however you can always change the size of the apple or pear :)
How can I improve my WHR?
For health, the main number you want to decrease is your waist, not hip circumference.
Due to genetics, some people will naturally have larger hips and a smaller waist so we'd advise you compare against yourself over time, not against others.
You cannot spot reduce fat on the body e.g. doing sit ups and abdominal exercises will not reduce the fat around your waist.
Although regular exercise has hundreds of benefits, what you eat/drink (and how much of it) will have the largest impact on your waist circumference. If you are unsure where to start, we would recommend seeking the advice from a dietitian. Please email our director if you want some ideas on who you could see in your area firstname.lastname@example.org
As you can not spot reduce fat around your waist, your focus should be on decreasing your body fat and weight. There is some good information on these topics here: