How to measure your waist circumference

How to measure your waist circumference

Follow 5 guidelines to properly measure your waist circumference.

Measurement Site

1. Measure the smallest part of your abdomen between your belly button and the center of your rib cage.

If you can’t identify the smallest part of your abdomen, take the measurement at your belly button.


2. Measure your waist while standing tall, arms at your sides, and feet together (or as close together as possible).

3. Keep your body relaxed and take the measurement after you completely exhale.

Although you’ll probably be tempted, be sure not to suck in your stomach.

Measuring tape

4. Keep the measuring tape horizontal all the way around your waist. Keep it tight but don’t compress or pinch your skin.


5. Take multiple measurements until each is within ¼ inch of each other. Record an average of the results.

ACSM’s Health Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual, 2nd ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008.

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Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...