Now that you know your waist to hip ratio (what is waist to hip ratio?), let's talk about what you can do about it if it's not in the healthy range. Too much fat around the middle increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you're pear shaped (more fat around the hips and thighs) don't despair. You may not like it, but it's not as dangerous for your health. Being apple shaped (more fat around the middle than around the hips and thighs) seems to be more of a health threat. 

Here are some tips for controlling tummy fat: 

    ➢    Don't buy supplements that promise to reduce "belly fat". There is no supplement     that has been shown to reduce fat in any one place on the body. So don't waste your money!
    ➢    Lose Weight if you're overweight. Reducing your overall weight will reduce fat   around the middle
    ➢    Exercise can reduce fat all over. Even moderate walking can reduce fat around the middle. Always check with your physician before starting a new exercise program.
    ➢    Weight lifting may be particularly effective at reducing fat around the middle. You don't have to pump iron to get great effects. You can also use the exercise bands that look like giant rubber bands. But, if you are not doing any strength training now, you may want to consult with a physical therapist that can help you develop a safe and effective routine.
    ➢    Reduce Stress!  There is some evidence that when people are constantly stressed that they produce more cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that may guide fat to your middle! So take a yoga class or a relaxing bath - whatever it takes to de-stress you!
    ➢    Include low-fat dairy products in your diet. Some research has shown that low-fat dairy products - combined with a low-calorie diet - can help reduce fat around the middle.  Dairy foods will not magically melt your waist into that bikini you've been dying to wear. But dairy foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese are a smart part of an overall weight loss diet.

Beth Kitchin, MS, RD
Assistant Professor
UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences