Waist Circumference Chart

Abdominal fat can indicate a higher risk for disease. This is because the fat surrounding abdominal organs, especially the liver, is very metabolically active, which means that it releases fatty acids, inflammatory agents, and hormones that lead to higher LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, and blood pressure.

Often, abdominal obesity results in an apple-shaped body type. This is more common in men, while a pear-shaped body is more common in women simply because, in females, fat tends to accumulate around hips and thighs, as well as the abdomen.

It is important to keep in mind that even a normal weight patient with a BMI less than 25.0 can still be at risk if their waist circumference is too high. That being said, there is usually a relationship between BMI and waist circumference, which is shown in the chart below[1]:

  BMI Level Disease Risk
Waist circumference     Men: 40 in or less
Women: 35 in or less
Men: More than 40 in
Women: More than 35 in
Underweight Below 18.5      
Normal weight 18.5 – 24.9      
Overweight 25.0 – 29.9 Increased High  
Obese 30.0 – 34.9
35.0 – 39.9
Very High
Very High
Very High
Extreme Obesity 40.0 and Above III Extremely High Extremely High

[1] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “According to Waist Circumference,” Guidelines on Overweight and Obesity: Electronic Textbook. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/guidelines/current/obesity-guidelines/e_textbook/txgd/4142.htm, accessed July 7, 2016.