Implications of Waist-to-Hip Ratio Measurement Going for the 3 Increases: Increase in Health, Increase in Happiness & Increase in Energy Strategies for Success in Weight Management By: James J. Messina, Ph.D. Waist – Hip Ratio Recent data indicate that the pattern of fat distribution throughout the body is an important predictor of the health risks of obesity Exercise scientists have classified where the fat is deposited on the body in two categories: male-pattern (or apples) female-pattern (or pears). Waist – Hip Ratio Apples characteristically deposit high amounts of fat in the abdominal and trunk regions – Predominately male but females can have this body type Pears deposit high amounts of fat in the hip, buttocks, and thigh regions – Predominately female but males can have this body type How to Calculate: Waist-to-Hip ratio (WHR) Divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference Waist circumference is defined as the smallest circumference between the rib cage and bellybutton Hip circumference is defined as the largest circumference of the hip-buttocks region Waist – Hip Ratio Apples Men with WHR values exceeding 0.95 Women with WHR values above 0.80 Pears Men with WHR values less than 0.95 Women with WHR values less than 0.80 APPLES Research has shown apples are at a greater risk for developing a number of health-related problems, the most prominent being hypertension (i.e., high blood pressure), type II diabetes (i.e., non-insulin dependent diabetes hyperlipidemia (i.e., elevated levels of fat in the blood). APPLES’ Health Risk comes from 2 characteristics of abdominal fat cells Abdominal fat cells tend to be larger than those located in other regions of the body. Relatively large fat cells are associated with insulin resistance (i.e., reduced tissue responsiveness to insulin), which means body cells will take up less glucose (sugar) from the blood, causing the blood sugar level to rise & Full-blown diabetes (type II) can develop In response to the elevated blood sugar level, the pancreas secretes more and more insulin (hyperinsulinemia). APPLES’ Health Risk comes from 2 characteristics of abdominal fat cells Hyperinsulinemia, by promoting sodium reabsorption by the kidneys and stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, can predispose an apple to hypertension Rates of enzyme-initiated chemical reactions are higher for abdominal fat cells & they are more metabolically active than fat cells located in other regions of the body & more metabolically active abdominal fat cells can be easily released into the blood stream resulting in hyperlipidemia. Good News for APPLES Research has shown that weight reduction tends to be easier for them, as they benefit from the high turnover rate of abdominal fat. Apples are at a greater health risk but weight reduction, exercise training and a prudent diet can help to counteract many of the negative health consequences of obesity and result in a weight toss that can be maintained. Bad-Good News for Pears For pears, however, weight loss is more difficult because fat cells in the hip, buttock, and thigh regions do not easily relinquish their fat. This tendency for pears to stubbornly hold onto their fat helps to ensure that nursing mothers maintain sufficient energy reserves. Weight reduction, exercise training and a prudent diet can help to counteract many of the negative health consequences of obesity and result in a weight toss that can be maintained.
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