Body Mass Index (BMI) or body fat based on height and weight is often considered a standard ratio to determine a healthy weight. Normal weight based on BMI is a range between 18.5 and 24.9. Anything under it is considered to be underweight, over 24.9 is considered to be overweight. Obesity is a BMI over 30.
However recent research indicates that the ratio of the waist circumference to hip circumference can indicate health status similar to traditional indicators. Waist to hip ratio (WHR) is calculated by dividing waist circumference at its narrowest point by hip circumference at the widest point. Anything over 0.85 for women and 0.95 for men can indicate health issues.
The American Journal of Cardiology had studies published that showed that the waist-to-hip ratio (WHI) can predict cardiovascular disease including cholesterol and blood pressure. It has also been found that a high risk WHR is linked to diabetes, alzheimer's disease, depression, deep vein thrombosis and even some cancers. In a study published in the Medial Journal of Australia, next to cigarette smoking, WHR is the single best predictor of heart disease mortality in Australia.
Waist hip ratio can be improved with regular exercise, stretching exercises like yoga and a proper diet.