Kelvin Brown, MD, MPH

Surgeon, Bariatric Specialist, and Public Health Expert

Apple of Pear: What's Your Body Type?

One big problem we all need to watch out for is a large abdomen. Of course, a large belly is uncomfortable. When your waistline expands, it makes it difficult to move and breathe. But did you know that a large belly increases the risk of serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease?


Studies show that men who have a waist size larger than 40 inches have three times the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol than men with smaller waist sizes. High cholesterol leads to heart disease, heart attack and heart failure.


Women who have large waists or what we call “apple shapes” are more likely to have persistent activation of blood cells called platelets. This can lead to increased blood clotting and may boost heart attack and stroke risk.


In addition, your growing waistline is filled with visceral body fat. Visceral body fat is the type that hides deep within the recesses of the body, close to organs. This type of fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. 


Apple or Pear?


Some scientists put us in various categories, depending on the way we are built. For example, there are those people we call “apples,” who accumulate fat at the waistline. Pears (mostly women) are those that carry more weight below the waist and around the thighs and upper legs.


If you are an apple body type, you have a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and even some cancers.


Apple or pear: How to find out


Here’s a simple formula to tell if you are an apple or pear: 


1.     Break out your measuring tape

2.     Measure your waist in inches at its narrowest point.

3.     Now divide this number by your hip measurement in inches at the widest point.

4.     For women the apple/pear score should not exceed 0.80. 

5.     For men the score should not exceed 0.95


Examples of Apples and Pears


Donna (a pear) has a waist measurement of 33 inches and a hip measurement of 44.                       


33 divided by 44 = .75 (acceptable – less than .80)


Maria’s is an apple as her waist is larger at 38 and her hips are 40.


38 divided by 40 = .96 (too high – greater than .80)


Raymond is an apple as well, with a waist at 38 and hips at 38.


38 divided by 38 = 1 (too high – greater than .95 for men)


Tomas has a healthier waist hip ratio with a waist at 33 and hips at 38.


33 divided by 38 = .87 (acceptable – less than .95 for men)


Your Personal Waist/Hip Worksheet


Waist (in inches) ____ divided by Hip (in inches)_____ =_______


Whether you are an apple or a pear with a growing waistline, it’s time to do something positive for your body and your health.