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How to Measure Your Waist Circumference Accurately at Home

How to measure your waist circumference

Knowing how to measure your waist circumference accurately can help to provide you with helpful information regarding the fit of your clothing and your progress toward health goals.

Why Measure Your Waist Circumference?

Unless you’re at a fitting for clothing you need adjusted for your size, there aren’t many reasons for you to have to measure your waist circumference in everyday life. That said, doing so on occasion can help you to make sure you understand one of several factors that let you know what’s going on with your body and wellness overall.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specify that this particular measurement can’t be used as a diagnostic tool for medical conditions. That said, it can be an indicator as to whether you’re making progress in a weight management goal such as gaining, losing or maintaining. Moreover, it can also be combined with other measurements to help your doctor to determine if – combined with other health factors – new weight goals could be helpful in order to reduce certain health risks.

How to Accurately Measure Your Waist Circumference

The following are simple steps to make sure you measure your waist circumference accurately. Though this is easier done with the help of someone else so that you can stand, and the other person can measure you, it is possible to take a reading on your own.

  • Stand up straight but relaxed. Don’t “suck in”, but simply keep good posture with your spine in a neutral position.
  • Place the measuring tape around your middle at the smallest point. This is usually just above your hip bones.
  • Adjust the tape so it is horizontal and straight all the way around your waist without drooping or twisting.
  • Keep the tape snug against your skin, but don’t pull it taught so that it compresses your skin. It should simply lie flat on the surface.
  • Inhale, then exhale and take the measurement just after you’ve breathed out.

What to Do with Your Measurement?

Record the number and the date so you’ll be able to refer back to it without relying on your memory. This will also allow you to observe trends over time.

The data you collect when you measure your waist circumference can also be helpful to share with your doctor during checkups or discussions of weight management. The reason is that excessive abdominal fat can place you at an increased risk of certain conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes.

Though you can’t measure your waist circumference to know if you have those conditions, it can be an early indicator that you’re on the right track or that your lifestyle could use some wellness adjustments.