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Jun 12, 2010

Waist Hip Ratio


Waist-hip ratio or Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is the ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips. It is calculated by measuring the smaller circumference of the natural waist, usually just above the belly button, and dividing by the hip circumference at its widest part of the buttocks or hip. The ratio is applied both to women and men.

Indicator of health


The WHR has been used as an indicator or measure of the health of a person, and the risk of developing serious health conditions. Research shows that people with "apple-shaped" bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with "pear-shaped" bodies who carry more weight around the hips.
WHR is used as a measurement of obesity, which in turn is a possible indicator of other more serious health conditions.

A WHR of 0.7 for women and 0.9 for men have been shown to correlate strongly with general health and fertility. Women within the 0.7 range have optimal levels of estrogen and are less susceptible to major diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and ovarian cancers. Men with WHRs around 0.9, similarly, have been shown to be more healthy and fertile with less prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

WHR has been found to be a more efficient predictor of mortality in older people than waist circumference or body mass index (BMI). If obesity is redefined using WHR instead of BMI, the proportion of people categorized as at risk of heart attack worldwide increases threefold. The body fat percentage is considered to be an even more accurate measure of relative weight. Of these three measurements, only the waist-hip ratio takes account of the differences in body structure. Hence, it is possible for two women to have vastly different body mass indices but the same waist-hip ratio, or to have the same body mass index but vastly different waist-hip ratios.

The ideal ratio for women is considered to be about 0.7.

Measure of attractiveness

          The concept and significance of WHR is as an indicator of attractiveness.WHR was a more consistent estrogen marker than the BHR studied at King's College, London by Dr Glenn Wilson in the 1970s.
 Women with a 0.7 WHR are usually rated as more attractive by men from European cultures. Beauty icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren have or had ratios close to 0.7, even though they have different weights and heights. In other cultures, preferences appear to vary according to some studies,ranging from 0.6 in China, to 0.8 or 0.9 in parts of South America and Africa, and divergent preferences based on ethnicity, rather than nationality, have also been noted.

For example, women of African descent tend to store their fat in their buttocks more than women of other groups. Therefore, their WHR as viewed from the front may appear to be much greater than when viewed from the side. The inverse may be true of women of East Asian ancestry. Therefore, African men appear to be more likely to value a woman's small WHR in profile and Asian men may tend to place more value on a smaller frontal WHR, compared to European men.

It appears that men are more influenced by female waist-size than hip-size :


    "Hip size indicates pelvic size and the amount of additional fat storage that can be used as a source of energy. Waist size conveys information such as current reproductive status or health status ... in westernized societies with no risk of seasonal lack of food, the waist, conveying information about fecundity and health status, will be more important than hip size for assessing a female's attractiveness."

   

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