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LMU 42 – Importance of Waist Circumference in Health Assessment: Insights from Leading Health and Exercise Experts

Waist Circumference: A Key Health Risk Indicator

LMU 42 – Importance of Waist Circumference in Health Assessment: Insights from Leading Health and Exercise Experts

Source: Sports and Exercise Nutrition 4th Edition (Textbook), Pages 450 and 487: (W. McKardle, F. Katch, V. Katch)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (February 19, 2017)


In the realm of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology, a trio of distinguished individuals has made indelible contributions. These experts, William McArdle, Frank Katch, and Victor Katch are acclaimed for their authorship of industry-standard textbooks that have become cornerstones of medical, exercise physiology, and nutrition education. This article sheds light on their impactful work and delves into a critical aspect of health assessment — waist circumference.

Profiles of Leading Experts

  1. William McArdle: A recognized authority in exercise physiology, William McArdle has co-authored seminal textbooks that have shaped the field’s understanding of exercise and its effects on the human body.
  2. Frank Katch: Another luminary in exercise physiology, Frank Katch’s co-authored works have illuminated the intricate relationship between exercise, nutrition, and optimal health.
  3. Victor Katch: A distinguished name in health and exercise, Victor Katch’s scholarly contributions have been instrumental in shaping the discourse around health assessment and fitness.

Waist Circumference: A Key Health Indicator

A notable contribution by these experts is the book “Waist Circumference – A Key Health Risk Indicator,” which stands as an essential reference for health professionals guiding athletes and individuals seeking nutrition advice. This publication underscores the pivotal connections between diet, exercise, training, exercise performance, and the assessment of vital health parameters.

In particular, the experts highlight the pivotal role of waist circumference as a potent health risk indicator. Notably, the book emphasizes findings on page 450 that underscore the significance of a person’s waist circumference in assessing risks for various conditions. The research affirms that individuals with a waist circumference equal to or exceeding 35.4 inches for men and 32.7 inches for women face elevated risks of heart and cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, certain cancers (including breast, endometrial, prostate, and colon cancers), macular degeneration of the eye, and all-cause mortality. The correlation between waist circumference and risk intensity is compelling, with higher waist measurements correlating to greater health risks. Moreover, when a man’s waist circumference surpasses 40.2 inches or a woman’s exceeds 36.6 inches, the risk of developing the mentioned diseases and all-cause mortality becomes notably elevated.

Waist Circumference as a Robust Indicator

The experts underline the remarkable reliability of waist circumference as a health risk predictor. They assert that, in situations where precision assessments are unfeasible, waist circumference emerges as the measurement of choice for evaluating health risks. Its robust predictive power renders it an invaluable tool in gauging individual health.

Practical Application: Taking Action

The practicality of waist circumference assessment cannot be overstated. Individuals can easily measure their waist by using a tape measure at the level of the belly button. For men, a measurement equal to or exceeding 35.4 inches, and for women, a measurement equal to or exceeding 32.7 inches, signifies an imperative need to address health risks associated with these conditions.

A noteworthy point highlighted by the experts is the feasibility of positively impacting health outcomes through minor adjustments. By reducing daily calorie intake by just 100 calories and increasing calorie expenditure through physical activities like stationary cycling or power walking by an additional 100 calories, individuals can shed approximately 21 pounds of body fat within a year. This weight loss can significantly contribute to restoring a healthier waist circumference.

Empowerment Through Awareness

The experts encourage consistent monitoring of waist circumference as an individual accountability tool. Checking it every six months provides a tangible metric to assess adherence to health-promoting dietary and exercise practices. This simple practice empowers individuals to track their progress and make informed lifestyle adjustments.


The enduring contributions of William McArdle, Frank Katch, and Victor Katch to the fields of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology have left an indelible mark. Their emphasis on the significance of waist circumference as a health risk marker reverberates as a transformative insight. This simple yet impactful metric offers individuals a tangible way to gauge and address their susceptibility to prevalent health conditions. By monitoring waist circumference, individuals can align their dietary and exercise practices with health objectives, promoting lifelong well-being.


“Waist Circumference – A Key Health Risk Indicator” by William McArdle, Frank Katch, and Victor Katch.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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