Hazardous Waist

What is an Unsafe Waist Measurement in the Workplace?

If you were looking for one thing that you could build your health and wellbeing program around for heart health – what is it?

When we recently compared waist measurement and heart health scores, the data was compelling. Heart health score arises from 8 separate risk factors and while all risk factors need to be considered, waist measurement had the strongest correlation. A correlation of 0.84 is nearly a perfect correlation. The negative sign in front of the 0.84 below is related to the slope of the line dropping from left to right as waist measurement increases.

The green band indicates low risk. The yellow band indicates an increased risk. The red band indicates substantial risk. The dots are the individuals in the sample. There was a correlation of -0.84 between the Heart Health Score and Waist Measurement.

The Pearson r correlation coefficients between selected variables use the classification: 0=trivial, 0.1=small, 0.3=moderate, 0.5=large, 0.7=very large, 0.9=nearly perfect, 1.0=perfect.

This strong relationship (r=0.84) points sharply to the “one risk factor”, that if managed in your workplace, will reduce the overall risk profile of your workforce. Large waist measurements can prove hazardous in the workplace – for a host of health and performance reasons.

It is tough to have a Heart Health Score in the low-risk zone if your waist measurement is high. Most individuals in the high-risk zone had a waist measurement of at least 95-100cm, up to 145cm. The low- risk zone individuals comply with the WHO waist standards of <94cm. No one in the sample had a waist measurement below 80cm.

Here the message is to reduce waist measurement to reduce risk. The smaller you are around the belly, the better health results and performance all round…in both males and females.

The process outlined gives a clear and objective indication that any action or intervention can be tailored to suit the risk profile of any workforce. A great percentage of risk factors are manageable and can be reversed. Obtaining the evidence of what to do next – offers that level of certainty. Our data suggests this can happen with a structured assessment, followed by education and support programs.

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