A healthy waist circumference for a healthy lifestyle


Quite apart from esthetic considerations, maintaining a healthy waist circumference will allow you stay healthy longer and reduce the risk of developing diseases associated with excess weight such as cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, arterial hypertension, and stroke.

Un tour de taille sain pour une vie saine

Did you know that nearly 60% of adults in Canada carry excess weight or are obese? Excess weight around the waist is more harmful than excess weight in the hips or thighs. Consequently, weight reduction of only 5% may be enough to reduce hypertension and blood cholesterol.

To calculate your waist circumference effectively, just follow these simple steps:

  • Remove clothing items or belts that make it hard to access your abdominal region
  • In front of a mirror, stand straight, your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Relax your abdomen and locate the upper end of your hips using the side of your hand or your index finger. To do so, press up and in on your hipbone
  • Using a measuring tape, measure your waist circumference, making sure that the measuring tape is parallel to the floor and not folded or twisted
  • Keeping your abdomen relaxed, take two regular breaths and, after the second breath, slightly tighten the tape around your waist. It must not press into your skin but fit snugly against it
  • Read the measurement on the tape

How to interpret the measurement




Risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes

in cm

in cm

Very high

more than 120

more than 110







Very low

less than 80

less than 70

If your waist circumference is high or very high, you should see a healthcare professional as soon as possible. He or she can help you design a strategy to reach a healthy weight based mainly on physical activity and healthy eating habits.

“Apple” and “pear” type weight problems

In “apple” type weight problems, fat is mainly stored around the tummy and near the chest; in “pear” type weight problems, it is mainly present at the hips, buttocks, and thighs. Adults with “apple” type weight problems more often suffer from arterial hypertension, shortness of breath upon exertion, and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol level) while those with a “pear” shape (more often women) suffer from joint and circulation problems. It is more difficult to lose weight if you have “pear” type weight problems.

Adults who are obese are four times more likely to suffer from diabetes, three times more likely to develop arterial hypertension, and twice as likely to develop heart problems than adults with a healthy weight. Food for thought!

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