Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Are you an apple or a pear?

I suppose immediately after the holiday season isn't the best time to bring up the subject of waist and hip measurements.

Or maybe it's the ideal time, as those who have overindulged over the last month or so head to the gym in droves, at least until February or March. Most are probably going to be watching the numbers on a scale, but there are a couple of other numbers that are even more important to pay attention to.

You've probably heard that old saying that it's better to be pear-shaped than apple-shaped, but what does it really mean? It refers to the fact that excess body fat around the abdominal area has been shown to be a greater health risk than fat around the hips.

Studies have shown that people who carry a lot of excess abdominal fat (the apples) are at much greater risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious health problems than those who carry excess fat around the hips (the pears).

To perform a little reality check of your own, all you need is a tape measure, a mirror or an assistant to help you place the tape measure in the right places, and an online calculator, such as this one (it introduces yet another fruit analogy, the avocado, which is somewhere between pear and apple).

So go ahead, and don't be afraid. Calculating your waist-to-hip ratio is a useful tool to help you assess potential risks to your future health. There's no better time to do that than the present.


  1. I am an apple. I joined Weight Watchers in August 2009. Lost 11 pounds. Still an apple, but a smaller one.

  2. Marge: Aw shucks, thanks! :-)

    MaryAnne: Congratulations on your weight loss. From what I know of it, Weight Watchers sounds like a very sensible approach, unlike so many others.

  3. Aunt Dene says what about an upside down pear??

  4. Aunt Dene: I think an upside-down pear would represent a pretty good physique!