Difference Between Waist & Hips

Updated March 23, 2017

Your waist and hips are both parts of your body. They are close together and are connected, but they are distinct, especially in women. In order to improve your body awareness, you should learn the differences between your waists and your hips. This will make it easier to move, discuss and generally work with your own body.


While hips have fat and muscle on them, they are primarily made of bone. The key feature of your hips is the joint that connects the top of your legs to your pelvis. Your waist, on the other hand, does not have a specific bone in it. Rather, it is the area between the bottom of your ribcage and the top of your pelvis, and is composed of fat, muscle and internal organs. Your spine does run through it but does not form its key component.


Hips have a specific purpose -- to facilitate leg movements such as walking, running and squatting. Your waist does not have a specific purpose, but it provides back stability through your abdominal muscles and provides a place for your organs to reside and for your body to store excess fat.

Gender Differences: Waist

Men tend to have larger waists than women. This is particularly true for people who carry excess body fat, as men tend to carry their fat in their waists while women carry it in their breasts, hips and buttocks. So, male waists tend to be larger than their hips while female waists tend to be smaller than their hips.

Gender Differences: Hips

Women tend to have wider hips than men because of their wider pelvises. This illustrates the pelvis's -- literally -- pivotal role in the shape of the hips. What's more, the fact that women tend to store fat on their hips further highlights this difference in bone structure. So, women's hips tend to be larger than their waists, while men's hips tend to be the same size or smaller than their waists.

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About the Author

Sam Grover began writing in 2005, also having worked as a behavior therapist and teacher. His work has appeared in New Zealand publications "Critic" and "Logic," where he covered political and educational issues. Grover graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts in history.