ARE YOU SHAPED
LIKE A PEAR OR AN APPLE
concerned with not only how much fat a person has but where the fat is on the body.
tend to be more pear shaped than men, a pattern of fat
distribution that is less risky to health
Women typically collect fat in their hips and buttocks,
giving their figures a "pear" shape. Men, on the
other hand, usually build up fat around their bellies,
giving them more of an "apple" shape. This is not
a hard and fast rule, though. Some men are pear-shaped and
some women become apple-shaped, especially after menopause.
People whose fat is concentrated mostly in the
abdomen are more likely to develop many of the health problems associated with obesity.
Doctors have developed a simple way to measure
whether someone is an apple or a pear. The measurement is called waist-to-hip ratio. To find out
someone's waist-to-hip ratio, measure the waist at its narrowest point, then measure the hips at the
widest point. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. A woman with a 35-inch waist and
46-inch hips would do the following calculation:
35 ÷ 46 = 0.76
Women with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 0.8 or
men with waist-to-hip ratios of more than 1.0 are "apples." They are at increased health
risk because of their fat distribution.
Clinicians are beginning to adopt an
easier, and more accurate, way to
determine fat distribution: measuring
waist circumference. A waist measurement
over 35 inches in women and over 40
inches in men places the person in the
riskier "apple" category.