Home Diets and Weight Loss Measure waist circumference: This is how it works

Measure waist circumference: This is how it works

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 406 views

The waist circumference indicates imminent health risks. If you have a lot of belly fat, your risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes increases. Read here how to measure your waist circumference correctly , how the healthy figure differs for men and women, when the belly becomes a concern and why belly fat is so dangerous.

How do I measure the waist circumference correctly?

The circumference of the abdomen is closely related to the inner abdominal fat, the so-called visceral fat. This accumulates around the organs and produces hormones that have a negative effect on blood pressure and blood sugar, among other things.

The waist circumference is even more meaningful than the body mass index (BMI) for risk assessment.

There are people of normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 25) who have too much abdominal fat – for example because their limbs are very slim. Conversely, there are also people with a high BMI who are less at risk because their fat deposits are mainly on the buttocks and thighs. The BMI also does not take into account the proportion of muscle mass or fat in the body.

The waist circumference, on the other hand, is less error-prone. So measure it as regularly as possible. Please note the following points:

Right time – when should I measure?

The morning is the best moment of the day to measure your waist circumference – especially because the stomach is then empty and the measurement is not falsified. Therefore measure:

  • in the morning
  • before breakfast
  • undressed
  • in front of the mirror

Correct height – where should I put the tape measure?

Measure your stomach where it is at its widest. For most people, this is around navel height.

Different measurements

Measure your abdomen in the following ways:

  1. Measurement: Inhale, pull in your stomach completely and measure
  2. Measurement: Exhale, extend your stomach all the way and measure
  3. Measurement: Relax and measure your abdomen.

The last measurement provides the most important value. However, note the other two values ​​as well. If the measured difference between exhaling and inhaling increases, this is often a sign that you have lost belly fat.

What waist size is healthy?

There are different limits for a healthy waist circumference for men and women.

Waist circumference women

According to the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZFE), the circumference of the abdomen or waist for women is ideally less than 80 centimetres. From there, the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus increases. From a waist circumference of more than 88 centimeters, the risk is even greatly increased.

It is therefore better for women to stop gaining weight if they have a waist circumference of 80 centimeters or more. This is especially true for people who have already developed high blood pressure and/or arthrosis.

In recent years, younger women have increasingly been at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus due to obesity. It is particularly important for them to do something about obesity and belly fat at an early stage.

Many women also put on belly fat during the menopause. The trigger for this is the hormonal change. Ideally, they too should take countermeasures at an early stage in order not to gain too much weight.

Waist circumference men

Men generally have a greater tendency to accumulate fat in the abdomen (apple shape) than women, who tend to have padding on the buttocks and thighs (pear shape). This is due to the hormone testosterone.

Alarm bells should ring for men with a waist circumference of 94 centimeters or more. Then the risk of serious health risks such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes already increases.

With a waist circumference of 102 centimeters, the risk for men is significantly higher. It is then important to reconsider your lifestyle habits, eat a more balanced diet and do more sport.

Why is belly fat so dangerous?

It is not the “fat” belly itself that is dangerous, but the visceral (gastrointestinal) fat that surrounds the internal organs.

There are two types of adipose tissue in the human body:

  • subcutaneous fat
  • visceral adipose tissue

Subcutaneous fat insulates and stores energy

Subcutaneous fat is visible from the outside – for example on the buttocks and hips. It is located just under the skin (subcutaneous fatty tissue). Subcutaneous fat serves primarily as an energy store and has an insulating effect.

Subcutaneous fat tissue can also accumulate on the abdomen. If it is plentiful, increased visceral fat tissue has also formed in the abdominal cavity – around the organs.

Visceral fat promotes diseases

Visceral fat is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat. It releases more than 200 messenger substances. Among other things, they affect blood pressure, influence the release of the hormone insulin and promote chronic inflammation in the body.

This increases the likelihood of arteriosclerosis and thus, among other things, the risk of a heart attack or stroke, but also type 2 diabetes. The more belly fat there is, the greater the amount of problematic messenger substances are released.

How do I reduce my waist circumference?

Belly fat accumulates quickly. These tips will help reduce your waist circumference:

Physical activity

Do sport regularly and exercise as often as possible in everyday life.

Endurance sports such as water aerobics, swimming, jogging or Nordic walking are good for losing weight . They get your metabolism going. An average of 30 minutes of exercise a day is a good start.

However, do not overestimate the effect: 30 minutes of jogging burns 300 to 400 kilocalories, depending on the intensity and your own body weight. To lose a kilo of body fat (7000 calories) with this alone, you have to jog for around 10 hours. For less sweaty sports, it takes even longer.

Exercise in everyday life, on the other hand, tends to be underestimated. Anyone who manages the recommended 10,000 steps has also burned around 300 kilocalories. A pedometer helps you keep track of your daily activity.

Strength training also helps. On the one hand through direct calorie consumption, but above all because built-up muscles burn more energy than fatty tissue even when resting.

If you are unsure which sport or exercises are right for you or you have not exercised for a long time, talk to your doctor. A sports medical examination may be necessary so that you do not overstrain yourself at the beginning.

Balanced nutrition

Eating a balanced diet is another important factor in reducing belly fat. This includes:

  • lots of vegetables
  • some fruit every day
  • Whole grain instead of white flour products
  • little sugar
  • little alcohol
  • Vegetable oils with unsaturated fatty acids

Also replace fatty foods with light ones and avoid soft drinks and fast food. Lemonades and Co. contain a lot of sugar. Burgers, pizza and fries only fill you up temporarily and have few nutrients. Alcohol also has a lot of calories and also stimulates the gastric mucosa. This creates a feeling of hunger.

Take breaks of at least four hours between meals so that the body uses the energy stores. Intermittent fasting could support this effect.

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