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So how did last week’s challenge go. Did you try something you liked or was it more of an “interesting” experience. (As my kids say – it’s not my favorite….)

This week the challenge is actually quite simple. Measure your waist to hip ratio.

You may ask – now why would you want to do that? For many years people relied on the scale to determine if they were healthy. It didn’t take long to figure out that that didn’t really work well. I was a member of Weight Watchers as a teenager and really, the weight ranges that were given were not suitable to my body frame. (Seriously 107 pounds…? Have you seen me?) Then along came the body mass index (BMI). This did improve things a bit as it did incorporate height as well as weight (along with frame size). So for years it was considered a key indicator of heart disease. Now the BMI does have some shortcomings. If you are muscular you could be deemed overweight – which is not the case or with some, you could be quite tall and “lean” but have a larger amount of body fat versus lean muscle. So along came the waist to hip ratio.

The waist to hip ratio seems to be a better indicator of heart disease risk than the BMI. This is because it can give an indication of abdominal fat. Now abdominal fat is a risk factor for heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of medical symptoms, namely elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure and centralized weight gain that can also predispose you to heart disease.

So, get out your tape measures (the non-metal ones of course!). First measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part. Then measure your waist at the smallest part (for most people this is just above the belly button). Don’t suck it in – that will not be accurate. Come on, if you are going to do it be truthful….

It doesn’t matter if you measure in inches or centimeters since we are just looking at the ratio.

Now divide your waist measurement by the hip measurement. If your ratio is 1.0 or above for men or 0.85 for women you are at higher risk. Low risk for men is 0.95 or below and 0.80 or below for women. If you are at high risk (or in between) please ask your naturopathic doctor (or family doctor) to check your fasting glucose, Hb1Ac and fasting cholesterol levels (including triglycerides, LDL and HDL). This will help determine if there are any underlying conditions that need to be addressed as well as help you to decrease those ratios.

Until next time… a not quite perfect 0.84. HIIT workouts here I come!