Healthy Body Measurements for a Woman

Woman measuring waist size

Body measurements can provide a good estimate of health status and risk factors for chronic diseases, but measurements alone do not determine health status. Health is a subjective phenomenon; every individual is distinctive. We are exposed to different risk factors based on environment, lifestyle and family history. Nevertheless, the three most commonly employed measurements utilized to estimate health status include body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

Body Mass Index

Body mass index is calculated from a person's height and weight, which may indicate fat composition. However, BMI does not account for muscle mass which means elite athletes may have high bmi ratings.

Typically, BMI is used as an indicator of health status as the lower or higher the BMI, the greater the health risk based on the assumed amount of body fat. The ideal healthy BMI for women would fall into the normal range of 18.5 to 24.9. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports 57 percent of Arizona women have a BMI of 25 or greater,.meaning they are overweight or obese.

Waist Circumference

As the term implies, waist circumference measures the distance around your waist. This measurement is considered to have greater value in assessing the health status of individuals than BMI as it more accurately predicts the amount of fat. Fat on the abdomen increases risks for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A woman's ideal waist circumference measurement should be less than 35 inches.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio

The American College on Exercise notes that your waist-to-hip ratio is the most accurate estimated measurement of good health. To find your ratio, divide your waist circumference by the measurement around your hips. An ideal waist-to-hip measurement for women is less than 0.75 inches indicates excellence and 0.80 to 0.86 indicates average. Anything above 0.86 is cause for concern.

The Most Accurate Measurements

Although knowledge of measurements can help you take charge of your health, further assessments such as diet evaluations, biometric screenings, physical activity tests and family history analysis should be conducted by a physician for the most accurate measurements.