Do you have a hazardous waist?

Are you overweight? There's a very easy way to check. Get a tape measure.

Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. Next year in England and Wales alone around 50,000 deaths will be down to excess weight.

Find a tape measure and measure your waist. Measure around your middle at a point mid-way between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips (usually, this is the level of the belly button) and breathe out naturally (no holding it in.)

As a man, you have a:

  • HIGHER risk of health problems if your waist size is more than 94cm (37 inches) (for Asian men, it’s lower: 90cm/36 inches) and 
  • an EVEN HIGHER risk if your waist size is more than 102cm (40 inches)

Note that this is not the same as your trouser size. If your belly is hanging over the top, a 36-inch waist might disguise a real measurement of 40+.

What about BMI?

Measuring your belly is in many ways more useful as a guide - but there's more on BMI here.

So how do I reduce my waist size?

Check out our Food and Exercise FAQs.

We don't currently post comments online but are always keen to hear your feedback.

MAIN IMAGE: Tape Measure by Pink Sherbet licensed under CC BY 2.0

Date published 13/01/21
Date of last review 13/01/21
Date of next review 12/01/24


The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.

Registered with the Fundraising Regulator