Fitness, nutrition priorities

There’s no better time of year than now for a reminder why we need to make fitness and proper nutrition a priority.

There’s no better time of year than now for a reminder why we need to make fitness and proper nutrition a priority.

Though it may not be the time of year we spend a great deal of time thinking about starting a new fitness program a gentle reminder may help you avoid a few of the holiday beverages and desserts.

The waist girth measure is a commonly used basic health assessment used to indicate risk factors for many health related issues.

Some of the health related issues in which waist circumference may be an indicator for are: High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol level, low HDL cholesterol, high blood fats (TG), and metabolic syndrome (defined by Wikipedia as a combination of medical disorders that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes).

As these are some of the most prominent health issues facing the general population I think that understanding and being able to easily perform a self-assessment for risk factors could be a useful tool.

Sometimes staying motivated or facing the challenges of changing lifestyle habits is more easily faced with a practical measuring stick.

A waist girth assessment can be performed easily with any soft tape measure.

It’s preferred for the most accurate result to have someone perform the measure for you.

Begin by placing the tape across the navel.

Make sure the tape lies flat around the circumference of the waist and is level across the body.

Preferably the tape should be placed over bare skin for the most accurate measurement.

Avoid the temptation to pull the tape too tight but measuring at the point of the end of a slow exhale would be typical and produce a consistent result.

Be forewarned that this measure will most certainly be greater than your pant size.

For some time now many clothing manufacturers have been slowly making their sizes bigger without actually adjusting the “size” to accommodate our growing population figuratively speaking.

So once you are through the initial shock of the measure it’s time to understand what it means.

The American National Health Institute suggests that a measure of 35+ inches for women and 40+ inches for men would indicate high risk. It’s also suggested that a healthy waist girth(lower risk) would be less than 33 inches for women and 35 for men.

For every inch in excess of the above low risk suggestion related studies have shown that for every one inch increase in the waist circumference in men the risk for:

• High blood pressure increases by 10 per cent

• High blood cholesterol level increases by eight per cent

• Low HDL cholesterol increases by 15 per cent

• High blood fats (TG) increases by 18 per cent

• And metabolic syndrome increases by 18 per cent

As we head into the holidays it’s not a time to worry about suddenly shaving inches off your waist but hopefully a little awareness now really leads into a strong start for a happy and healthier new year. Happy holidays everyone!

Cabel McElderry is a local personal trainer and nutrition coach. For more information on fitness and nutrition, visit the Fitness F/X website at