How to Measure the Waistline and Hips

Woman measuring waist
Woman measuring her waist (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

You can measure your own waistline and hips to assess your health status and the success of a diet or fitness program. Girth measurements, such as these, are useful because they are a quick and easy way to get reliable body size information. Waistline and hip measurements, however, can be misleading. For example, a person with a large hip circumference might have large gluteal muscles, and the measurement will not differentiate muscles from body fat.

Waistline

Step 1

Stand facing a mirror and find the narrowest part of your bare torso. The narrowest part must be above your belly button and below your xiphoid process, or the bottom of the middle of your ribcage.

Step 2

Stand tall and wrap the tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist.

Step 3

Relax your muscles without losing your posture, and exhale. Read the point on the tape measure that meets the end. As you take the measurement, do not pull the tape measure tightly. You should have enough space for one finger to slide under the tape measure.

Step 4

Record the measurement where the tape measure meets the end.

Step 5

Take a second measurement to ensure accuracy.

Hips

Step 1

Stand sideways to a mirror. Identify the largest part of your hips or butt, whichever spot above the thighs is the largest.

Step 2

Wrap the tape measure around your widest area. The tape measure should be loose enough so that you do not see compression of the skin, but not so loose that it slips from the area.

Step 3

Record the measurement where the tape measure meets the end.

Step 4

Ensure accuracy by taking a second measurement.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure

  • Mirror

  • Note pad

  • Pencil or pen

Tip

The assistance of another individual, particularly a person skilled at taking such measurements, is helpful and will provide greater accuracy.

If the difference between your two measurements of the same site is more than half an inch off, start over.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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