Are you worried about putting on weight? Or are you trying to manage/lose weight? In this blog we discuss why it is important to monitor your waist circumference and what you can do to reduce it, if needed.
Did you know that a 1cm increase in waist circumference is associated with a 2% increased risk of future cardiovascular disease?
Obesity and increased waist circumference are associated with several risk factors for cardiovascular disease including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Waist circumference is a common and easy way to assess abdominal obesity.
How do you measure waist circumference accurately?
- Mark the level of the lowest rib margin on your left or right side.
- Mark the level of the iliac crest (the bony prominence on the outside of your hip) on the same side.
- Get someone to sit in front of you and apply a tape measure horizontally midway between the lowest rib margin and the iliac crest (approximately 2.5cm above the umbilicus/belly button)
- You should be standing straight with your feet together and looking straight ahead.
- You should be relaxed and breathing quietly throughout.
- Read the measurement as you breathe out gently.
Waist circumference thresholds
What can I do?
Follow a cardioprotective diet.
Diet has a major role in the management of high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and body shape, weight, and composition. The European Society of Cardiology recommends these tips for maintaining a healthy diet:
Learn more about the cardioprotective diet at our complimentary education session.
Follow the exercise guidelines for cardiovascular disease.
Alongside a healthy diet, taking regular exercise and avoiding sedentary behaviours can help to increase energy expenditure and improve body composition.
Those with cardiovascular disease should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week, spread across most days of the week. These sessions should include warm up and cool down periods.
Individuals who are obese and have high-blood pressure or type 2 diabetes should also perform resistance training sessions three times per week to reduce cardiovascular risk.
Increase your daily physical activity levels.
As we highlighted before in the ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ blog, there is significant evidence demonstrating that sedentary behaviour can be as detrimental to your health and smoking. Apart from meeting the weekly exercise guidelines outlined above, you should aim to reduce periods of prolonged sitting and increase your overall daily activity levels.
Measuring your daily step count is a simple objective measure of your general activity levels. Most smart watches and smart phones can record your daily step count.
Steps per day classification
Written by James Murray, Cardiac Physiotherapist.