How Big Should Your Waist Be?

A heart specialist explains

What Is the Optimal Size for Your Waistline?

Q: What’s the optimal waist size for good health?

A: Ideally, a woman’s waist size should be no more than 32 inches, and a man’s no more than 37 inches. When waist size creeps above that, the risks for heart disease, heart attack, cardiovascular death and stroke rise.

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When a woman’s waist exceeds 35 inches and a man’s exceeds 40 inches, the risk for heart disease spikes as blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation and the likelihood of diabetes increase.

Your body mass index (BMI) also helps us determine your cardiovascular risk. Doctors also take your height into account. Being exceedingly tall or short can impact your optimal waist size.

— Heart specialist Leslie Cho, MD

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