The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada encourages people to calculate their hip size and use this information to find their body type as a means of preventing heart disease and stroke. Using any of the online hip-to-waist ratio calculators (see Resources) will help you determine if your body is a "pear" or "apple" shape. This has nothing to do with the physical shape you are in, but the tendency of your body type for storing fat. Once you have this information, you and your doctor can devise the best diet and exercise plan to keep your heart and stroke risk as low as can be.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Fabric (flexible) tape measure
Remove your shoes and undress completely. Stand with your feet slightly apart, shoulders and spine straight and let your arms hang loosely at your sides.
Inhale and exhale slowly a few times. This will help relax the muscles in your body and you will be able to take a more accurate measurement.
Hold the end of the fabric tape with one hand in front of your body and wrap the tape around your hips. For women, your hips are measured at the widest point on the side of your body between your hip bone (which you can feel just below your waist) and the bottom of your buttocks. For men, wrap the tape so it is going across both of your hip bones. Make sure that the tape is wrapped evenly and parallel to the floor (so that no part of it is higher or lower than another). Pull the end of the tape to meet the part that you have wrapped around your hips. The point where the exact end can touch the rest of the tape while the tape is pressed flush to your body is the real measurement of your hip size. Note the measurement and then use the waist-to-hip size calculator (see Resources) to find out about your body shape and what it can mean for your health.
Tips and warnings
- Pay attention to the reality of your body when considering the assessment comments given when you use the hip-to-waist ratio calculator. If you are in shape and maintain a healthy weight, you may not be at risk and do not need to make any lifestyle changes. The assessment comments are only there to help you understand how your ratio can foreshadow how you will store fat and the effects that this would have on your health.
- Always consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. You must be in adequate physical condition and health to begin building towards a lifestyle change or you could wind up injured or ill.
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