Waist Measurement

BMI alone is not a good guide to who is at most risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Instead, waist circumference may be a much more accurate measure of future health problems because what matters is where you carry your excess kilos/pounds.

People who are an apple shape - they store fat around their midriff - are far more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes than those who are a pear shape or more diffusely plump. A waist circumference greater than 80cm (32in) for women and 94cm (37in) for men indicates increased risk, while a measurement of more than 88cm (35in) for women and 102cm (40in) for men is particularly worrying.


Waist-hip ratio

An even better measurement of risk may be the ratio of your waist circumference (the narrowest point on your abdomen) to your hip circumference (the widest point).

A ratio of more than 1.0 for a man (in other words your waist is bigger than your hips) or 0.8 for a woman means you urgently need to reduce your weight and increase your levels of exercise.

This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks in October 2005. First published in May 2001. ref: bbc health aug 2010.



Anxiety worsens hot flushes. Controlling lifestyle stress and anxiety may help reduce the number and severity of hot flushes associated with menopause, according to doctors at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hot flushes are perhaps the most troublesome symptom associated with approaching menopause and are experienced by a majority of women during the transition to menopause.

Menopause - the ending of menstruation - is defined as having 12 consecutive months without a period and occurs at the average age of 51.