Risk Calculator: What is My Risk for Heart Disease?

Time to read: 2 Min.
Published in: Heart Disease at 13/07/2024

At what point does my weight become a health risk? Which measurement method is best? Sound this out with our risk calculator.

How You Should Measure
Explanations: The Measurement Methods
Links to Further Research
Explanations of the Different Measurement Methods

Note: Online risk calculators do not correspond to a professional cardiological examination

How You Should Measure

Simply measure the waist or abdominal circumference between the iliac crest and the lowest rib at the point where it is most voluminous. Tucking in your belly doesn't count! Yes, it's nasty.

You measure hip circumference at the widest part of the buttocks. 

When taking the measurement, make sure you are breathing normally, standing upright and that the tape measure is straight.

Do you have questions regarding your heart health? Then book an initial cardiological assessment at our Heart Center in Zurich.

Measurement Methods: BMI, WHR, WHtR and the Abdominal Circumference

In most online calculators you only enter your self-measurable body mass, in the best case still questions about risk factors in your lifestyle. You can usually find these four calculation methods on the net:

BMI Calculator

"BMI" is the abbreviation for "Body Mass Index". The calculation formula: Weight / (body height squared).

There are several BMI calculation types: the WHO one, which is adjusted for children, the American one, which is more tolerant between 40 and 50 years, and a German one, which takes gender into account. So-called "Smart BMI's" try to apply and include all three types of calculation. Officially, however, there is no "SBMI".

Shortcomings of the BMI: This calculation formula is hardly recommended anymore, because it leads to wrong results in many cases, e.g. athletes (more weight due to muscles), small children (different proportions), amputations, general differences in stature and individual pattern of fat distribution. Fat has in the abdominal region brings a very different cardiovascular risk than fat in the thighs. There are also important differences between the sexes.

WHR Calculator

"WHR" is the abbreviation for Waist to Hip Ratio. The calculation formula: Waist or abdominal circumference / hip circumference.

The WHR is a much better representation of WHERE the fat tissue depots are located. Interesting: The female "hourglass" and the male "Y" silhouette seems to be an attractiveness factor independent of culture and is perceived as an intuitive health indicator.

Shortcomings of the WHR: Both hip and abdominal circumferences can be easily measured incorrectly. The WHR becomes inappropriate for very severely obese people, people of small stature, and children.


"WHtR" is the abbreviation for "Waist to Height Ratio", which is the waist circumference to body size ratio. The calculation formula: Waist Circumference / Body Height. Depending on the age group (<15, 15-40, 40-50, >50), different ranges are defined for the weight categories, with a separate range for each year of life between 40 and 50 (tolerance of plus 0.01 per year, as people naturally become more corpulent during this period of life).

Waist or Abdominal Circumference Method

The simplest method of all and surprisingly meaningful...

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