Whether you need to get the right pant suit size for a wedding or you’re about to embark on a weight loss journey, knowing how to measure waist and hips has many benefits.
Doing so is cheap and is better for tracking the quality of your health than using a scale. Best of all, it’s easy to learn.
Hip Versus Waist: The Basics
People sometimes confuse the words “hip” and “waist,” so it’s crucial for you to know the difference between hip vs. waist before you measure them.
In healthy-weight individuals, hips are anatomically wider than waists and result from three fused hipbones. A girl’s hips grow wider during puberty, and hips help both men and women have balance.
In contrast, the waist is the smallest part of your torso. It sits between your hips and rib cage, and many people refer to the waist as their stomach.
Tools for Measuring Your Waist and Hips
Before we talk about where to measure waists and hips, you must have the right tools. They include:
- Flexible tape measure
Admittedly, you can measure your hips and waist without a mirror. But doing so helps ensure you calculate the numbers in the correct place.
Using a soft, flexible measuring tape is crucial, which you can often purchase at a fabric store. Another option is to use a string and then measure the length of it with a standard, firm tape measure.
Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Your Waist
Grab your flexible tape measure, stand in front of a mirror, and get ready to learn how to measure waist circumference.
- Wear tight-fitting pants and a shirt or no clothing at all.
- Identify the narrowest area between your hipbones and ribs.
- Place the measuring tape around that narrowest point.
- Ensure the tape measure lies flat on your skin without being too taught or loose.
- Check the number on the measuring tape and write it down.
- Re-measure a second time to double-check your work.
Step-by-Step Guide for Measuring Your Hips
When comparing your waist vs. hip measurement, you can expect your hips to be wider than your waist if you’re at a healthy weight. So, below is the process for learning how to measure hips.
- Wear tight-fitting or no clothing.
- Identify the area where your buttocks are the widest.
- Wrap the measuring tape around that portion of your buttocks, bringing it to your front.
- Check that the measuring tape is laying snug, but night tight, against your skin.
- Write down the measurement.
- Follow these steps a second time to double-check your work.
Words of Measuring Advice
As you can see, there are a lot of similarities when measuring your waist and hips. Although these measurements aren’t challenging to take, it’s easy for the numbers to be off if you’re not careful about the tightness of the measuring tape.
If you pull the tape too tight, you’ll get a number showing that your waist and hip circumference are smaller than their true size. And not pulling the tape tight enough will have the opposite effect.
Finally, check to ensure there aren’t any twists in the measuring tape. That’s a common occurrence with soft-sided measuring tapes, which can often throw off your measurements.
Measurements From a Health Perspective
Now that you know how to measure hips and waists, you might wonder how your numbers compare to the recommended numbers.
Ideally, women should have a waist circumference of under 31.5 inches, and men should have a waist circumference of under 35.5 inches.
The ideal size of your hips is more nuanced, as you’ll learn next.
The Ideal Waist and Hip Ratio
Analyzing your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is crucial when comparing your waist vs. hip size. Women should have a WHR of .90 or lower, and men should have a WHR of .99 or lower.
So, how do you arrive at these numbers? You’ll need to divide the measurement you calculated for your waist by your hip measurement.
Aside from having a healthier-looking figure, remaining in the right WHR for your gender has health benefits.
Having too much fat around the middle part of your section (also known as having an apple figure) is called intra-abdominal obesity. People with this condition are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Should you have a WHR above the recommended number, you can help reduce the fat around your waist by following a whole food, low-calorie diet and exercising regularly.
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to measure waists and hips correctly is vital when ordering clothes online or tracking weight loss goals.
By following the advice we shared here, you’ll be able to take accurate hip and waist measurements, giving you better tools to track your health if that’s your goal.