Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is another indicator, like body mass index (BMI), used to determine someone's level of risk for obesity and heart disease. It is a ratio of the circumference of the waist to the circumference of the hips.
The following categories are usually used to determine risk based on someone's WHR:
For Men < 0.95 - Low risk 0.96 to 1.0 - Moderate risk 1.0 and above - High risk
For Women < 0.80 - Low risk 0.81 to 0.85 - Moderate risk 0.86 and above - High risk
HOWEVER, similarly to BMI, recent research indicates that these values are not appropriate for use in the South Asian population. South Asians tend to have more abdominal obesity (they store more fat around their stomach area), which significantly increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease. Even a little excess weight can increase the risk of a South Asian individual developing these complications. Because of that, modified WHR levels have been created specifically for this population:
South Asian men should strive to have a WHR less than 0.90. South Asian women should strive to have a WHR less than 0.80.