Make sure you measure up

Grab that tape measure, your life could depend on it

One in every two Australian adults is overweight.

Irrespective of your height or build, if your waistline is getting bigger it could mean you are at increased risk of chronic diseases like some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

You may have seen those television commercials which suggest a waist measurement of greater than 94cm for men or 80cm for women is an indicator of the internal fat deposits, which coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas, and increase the risk of chronic disease.

This Australian Better Health initiatives also suggests that measurements of more than 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women can mean you are at greatly increased risk of chronic disease.

These measurements are based on the non-Indigenous population. While there is limited data for Indigenous Australians, the indications are that for Aboriginal men, the initial cutoff is lower, about 90 cm for men and 80 cm for women. For Torres Strait Islanders and Pacific Islanders, the measurements may be a little higher than the standard.

To measure yourself correctly, measure halfway between your lowest rib and the top of your hipbone, roughly in line with your belly button. Breathe out normally and make sure the tape is snug, without compressing the skin.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about the signs you may be at risk of chronic disease and what you can do about it.

You can also visit the Australian Better Health Initiative website to learn more about the How Do I Measure Up? Campaign. You can also download a tape measure with which to measure your waistline and directions on how to do it.

There are also tips on healthy eating, getting active, answers to frequently asked questions on factors such as alcohol and smoking, links to other useful sites and a 12 week planner to kick start healthy habits.

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