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My BMI is in the Normal Range. But my WHR is Higher than Normal. Do I Need to Worry?

Normal BMI, High WHR: Should You Be Concerned?
October 19, 2023

BMI is the ratio of weight (in kg) to the square of height (in cm). It is a commonly used indicator of overall body weight and provides a general guideline for determining whether an individual is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese and thus helps determine the health related risks. BMI classifications can be helpful in setting initial weight loss or weight gain goals and in monitoring progress. However, BMI does not take into account individual variations in body composition, such as muscle mass or distribution of fat. The indicator to understand the fat distribution is the waist to hip ratio, which is measured as simply the ratio of your waist circumference- measured at the narrowest part of your waist and your hip circumference- measure at the broadest part of your hips. 

If your BMI falls within the normal range but your Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR) is higher than normal, it may indicate an imbalance in your body fat distribution. People with a higher WHR have an "apple-shaped" body as compared to those with a lower WHR who have a “pear shaped” body. 

Research has shown that people with a higher WHR, or those with an apple type body, are at a greater risk of developing certain health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. 

An elevated WHR, apart from suggesting that you may have more abdominal or central adiposity (fat around the waist), also suggests that you have a higher amount of visceral fat, or fat around internal organs. And it is this visceral fat that is associated with a higher risk of these health conditions.

It is important to note that while the waist-to-hip ratio provides valuable information about health risks and body composition, it should not be considered the sole determinant of an individual's overall health. Other factors, such as lifestyle, genetics, and overall body composition, should be taken into account when assessing an individual's health status. It's always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional who can evaluate your specific situation, conduct a comprehensive assessment, and provide personalised advice. They may suggest additional tests or measurements to further understand your health status and recommend appropriate lifestyle changes, such as exercise and dietary modifications, to help improve your overall health and reduce potential risks.