Waist circumference: the measurements you need to know to monitor your figure and health
Before buying clothes, it is better to know your waist circumference so that the pieces fit us like a glove. But it is not only useful in choosing clothes. It is also an indicator of overweight and obesity. How do you measure your waist circumference? We are evaluating.
Pull his shirt, take a tape measure, and wrap it around his stomach. These are the gestures we make when we want to measure our waist circumference, which corresponds to the hollow part of the abdomen, located above or below the navel. This measurement makes it possible in particular to choose clothes that adapt to our silhouette. But that's not all: it can also give clues about our health because it can identify overweight or obesity.
Waist circumference, an indicator that is used in addition to BMI
To determine if you are overweight or obese, it is not enough to weigh yourself and know your weight. Other pointers are also useful. Among them is the body mass index (BMI), which is used as a measure of excess weight, as indicated by the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS). To calculate it and estimate a person's body fat percentage, divide their weight by the square of their height.
“However, we must be careful when reading this table: for the same BMI, body composition and adipose tissue distribution can vary from one individual to another with variable risks of complications. In addition, some individuals such as high-level athletes BMI can be high without excess body fat,” can we read on the Inserm website.
Another sign to consider: waist circumference. According to the health insurance, this measurement makes it possible to assess excess belly fat. “Excess abdominal fat is associated, regardless of BMI, with the development of metabolic and vascular complications of obesity,” defines HAS.
Waist circumference: What are the recommended measurements?
In France, abdominal obesity is defined as a waist circumference greater than or equal to 80 cm in women and 94 cm in men, according to HAS. According to the health insurance, "It is then associated with the development of metabolic complications (such as diabetes, increased cholesterol and/or triglycerides in the blood) and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease." Obviously, it is recommended for a woman to have a waist circumference of less than 80 cm. For a man, it is desirable that his waist circumference be less than 94 cm.
How do you measure your waist circumference?
To correctly measure your waist circumference, specific conditions must be met. HAS and health insurance recommend doing this directly on the skin. So it is best not to wear any clothes while measuring your height. If this is not possible, it is better to do it on light clothes.
Both institutions recommend standing with your feet together and your arms relaxed at either side of your body. We measure our waist circumference at the end of the normal expiration. For this, we give ourselves a tape measure, which we place horizontally "midway between the lower part of the last rib and the highest part of the pelvic bone."
This sewing counter is then wrapped around her waist. It is recommended to ensure that the measuring tape is horizontal in the back and on the stomach. It is then necessary to read "Measure to a tenth of a centimeter at tape level" and write down the values and details of the HAS.
Waist circumference: How do we lose belly fat?
To reduce abdominal fat, it is recommended to modify your lifestyle. To do this, you must change your eating habits, reduce your calorie intake, and adopt a balanced and varied diet. "Eating healthy products in reasonable quantities and drinking plenty of water are the golden rules for obesity prevention. Personal nutritional support can be helpful", can we read on the website of the Hospital La Tour located in the canton of Geneva (Switzerland).
Another tip: move as much as possible. Therefore, it is recommended to engage in regular physical activity to get rid of the fat at the level of the abdominal belt. According to Hospital La Tour, you should ideally do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (or 75 minutes of intense activity). A good night's sleep, which is estimated to last between 7 and 8 hours, also promotes the reduction of abdominal fat.