typical female fat distribution may hate the way it looks on their
thighs, but it doesnít seem to be a very dangerous kind of fat.
However, men with abdominal fat carry a lethal package in their
bellies. At what point does belly fat become dangerous? This is
a home test you can do for assessment of your risk. Itís called
"the waist to hip ratio". Despite the lack of sophistication,
itís quite useful.
With a tape
measure, measure your waist above the belly button (on your skin
without clothing) at its largest diameter. No fair cheating by
sucking in! You may have to ask your spouse, "Where did my waist
used to be?" Measure your hips at their widest point. Then divide
the waist measurement by the hip measurement.
hips should be wider than your waist so that the ratio is not
more than 1.0. Since women naturally have broader hips than men
do, we expect their ratio to be a little lower. Men should be
0.9 or less. When their ratio exceeds 1.0 they are starting the
potbelly associated with heart attacks. A man with a 34" waist
divided by 38" hips would have a ratio of 0.9. It would be quite
typical for him to distribute early fat gain on both waist and
hips.For example, he might add two inches to each measurement
for a 36" waist divided by 40" hips. Divide these two and itís
still a 0.9. He can breathe a sign of relief, "Iím not pot bellied;
Iím fat all over." If, however, he adds four inches of fat to
his waist during the next few years, he gets a 40 divided by 40
which equals 1.0.
a ratio of 0.8 or less is desirable. As with men, both measurements
can increase equally, maintaining the same ratio. Itís when the
waist only increases that you approach the male figures (pun intended)
have repeatedly lost weight rapidly, only to gain it all back,
usually regain in the belly until they have a ratio of 1.0 or
more. Their bodies look more male and take on male cardiovascular