Waist circumference and waist–hip ratio

Report of a WHO expert consultation, Geneva, 8-11 December 2008

World Health Organization

book cover

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 39
Publication date: 2011
Languages: English
ISBN: 978 92 4 150149 1



The overall aim of the expert consultation was to review the scientific evidence and make recommendations on the issues related to waist circumference and waist–hip ratio. It focused particularly on issues related to: methods of measurement; variations by sex, age and ethnicity; predicting risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes, and of overall mortality and relationship with BMI in predicting disease risks.

The specific objectives of the consultation were to:

  • review the usefulness of waist circumference and waist–hip ratio measures as predictors of NCD risk;
  • assess operational considerations related to measurement protocols and cut‐off points for public health action;
  • define potential cut‐off points for public health action;
  • identify future research needs.