Ask the experts: Waist circumference

Q. “I have read a lot recently about waist circumference and the dangers of having fat around the stomach area. Can you tell me why it’s dangerous, and what the recommended waist measurement/s should be?

Name not supplied

A. Kristen MacKenzie, health and nutrition consultant at Millennium Institute of Sport and Health, comments:

“Waist circumference measures ‘central adiposity’, ie. the amount of fat a person has in their stomach area (the ‘beer belly’). This is a particularly useful measurement as it is very simple and quick to take by a trained professional.

Measurements above the upper limits (see below) are considered to be ‘at risk’ for conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.”

Upper limits

  • NZ European, Pacific Island and Maori men – 102cm
  • NZ European, Pacific Island and Maori women – 88cm
  • Asian and Indian men – 90cm
  • Asian and Indian women – 80cm
First published: Sep 2006

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