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Women's Health

Discover everything you need to know about women’s nutrition in this section devoted solely to woman’s issues. Topics covered include weight gain during menopause, and tips on how to detect and avoid breast cancer.

How to Take Body Measurements for Women (Body Measurement Chart Included!)

Learn how to take body measurements accurately to help track progress, assess body fat percentage, and stay motivated throughout your entire weight loss journey.

How to Take Body Measurements for Women (Body Measurement Chart Included!)


While scales show weight fluctuations, they do not paint the full picture when it comes to true weight loss. In fact, weight can shift based on fluid intake, menstrual cycles, and other factors. 

Learning how to take accurate body measurements can help track progress, assess body fat changes, and even select tailored and fitted clothing.

Use the following guidelines and tips to take accurate female body measurements!

Why Take Body Measurements for Weight Loss & Health?

A scale is a common measure to track weight loss progress. But weight naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day based on a multitude of factors, including hydration and bathroom patterns. 

The scale considers all body weight, too. This includes organs, fluids, bones, muscles, and fat. So really, the scale does not represent true loss or gain in body fat percentage. It also discredits muscle gain if following a strength training program. 

Taking body measurements is a more accurate representation of body transformation and changes in composition. This especially serves true when taking measurements properly and tracking 

How to Take Women's Body Measurements

When taking women's body measurements, consider these top tips to ensure their accuracy. 

1. Use a cloth measuring tape for a more accurate reading. 

A rigid metal tape may skew measurement readings, so use a cloth measuring tape instead. 

Avoid using a measurement tape that stretches, too, as this may cause inaccurate measurements. 

2. Place the measuring tape properly around the intended body part. 

Hold the tape measure level around the body and roughly parallel to the floor. It is recommended to take body measurements while standing and against bare skin as opposed to over clothes. 

Also, do not pull the tape too tight, nor drape too loosely. Ideally, the tape should be slightly snug and no more than one finger should fit through it. 

3. Track progress on a chart after taking body measurements. 

Lastly, after taking a measurement, write it down to ensure it is not forgotten. Document into a body measurement chart to track progress every 4 weeks or so. 

Because while changes may not be readily apparent to the eye, a tape measure can help reveal the truth. What’s more, they often yield a pleasant surprise!

Truly, observing the body's composition transformation over time can spark ongoing motivation to achieve weight goals.

Common Body Measurements for Women

Common measurements include the upper arms, bust, waist, hips, thighs, and inseam.

Upper Arms

Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow. Measure and track readings on each arm.

Bust

To take the bust measurement, simply place one end of the tape measure around the fullest part of the chest then wrap under the armpits. It should also be over the shoulder blades and back-to-front for an accurate reading.

Waist

A waist circumference measures waist size just above the belly button and below the rib cage. Circle the tape measure around the waist, much like a belt at the natural waistline. When taking the measurement, relax the breath and do not suck in the stomach.

The measurement considers fat distribution in the abdomen and is a strong predictor of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Women are advised to keep waist circumference under 35 inches to reduce health risks.

Hips

Starting at one hip, wrap the tape measure around the widest part of the hipbone. Circle it around the glutes and the other hip before returning back to the start point. Standing in front of a mirror for this measurement can help ensure the tape measure is level.

With hip and waist measurements, calculate the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal WHR for women is less than 0.85.

Thighs

Circle the tape measure around the widest and highest part of the thigh. Then, wrap it back around to the front. This measurement, especially, should be performed while standing for optimal accuracy.

Inseam 

The inseam simply refers to the length from the uppermost point of the inner thigh down to the ankle. Alternatively, ask for help from a friend or a fitting expert at a woman's clothing store.

While the inseam is not exactly a representation of weight loss, it is helpful when sizing for fitted clothing.

Recapping Body Measurements for Women

Again, use these body measurements to track progress when dieting, exercising, or other goals aiming for. And instead of aiming for an unrealistic body image, use all measurements as a guide to bolster progress towards good health.

Truly, too, health is much more than the number on the scale and losing weight. It can be sized by boosted energy, improvements in cholesterol levels, and simply feeling a greater sense of overall wellbeing!

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 14, 2015. Updated on October 15, 2021.

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