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.

What Is Considered Plus Size Today?

What size is plus size now? As the fashion industry is casting models as small as a size 6.

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Tall and thin. Two general concepts often used to describe female models. Because, in general, becoming a model requires a distinct body to fit into societal standards.

However, the fashion industry is making strides to be more inclusive of all body types, shapes, and sizes. Find out what size is considered plus-size in modern-day and if size really should matter.

Plus-Size Model Requirements

"Plus-size" is a loose word to describe the sizing of women and clothing. But what size is plus size considered to be?

Clothing stores can make it difficult to put a number on plus-size. Some departments may designate a size 12 as plus-size while others use a size 14.

But according to Modeling Wisdom, plus-size models often fall into the range of sizes 8 to 12. Sometimes, even a size 6 can be considered.

This consideration has ultimately raised some eyebrows. Besides, the average American woman wears between a Misses size 16 to 18, which corresponds to a Women's Plus size 20W. These numbers are much different than a size 6.

What Is a Size 6?

Size charts vary across the world. But based on this women's clothing size conversion table, size 6 in the United States and Canada is considered small.

A size small, or size 6 in the states, involves measurements of the bust, waist, and hips:

• Bust: 34 inches

• Waist: 26 inches

• Hips: 37 inches

Can these measurements be a gauge of good health? Health experts suggest knowing a waist and hip size can be useful.

• Waist size: A targeted waist size usually just above the belly button and below the rib cage. It also varies between genders: Women are encouraged to keep a waist size of under 35 inches or 88 centimeters.

A size 14 includes a waist size of 34 inches, which falls into these recommendations.

• Waist-to-hip ratio: A waist-hip measurement is the ratio (WHR) of the circumference of the waist to hips. It can be acquired by simply measuring the smallest circumference of the waist and dividing that number by the circumference of the hips at the widest part. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal WHR for women is less than 0.85.

In addition to a 34-inch waist, a size 14 includes a 45-inch hip measurement. This equates to a waist-to-hip ratio of about 0.76, also falling into the recommendations.

Should Size Matter?

Yes and no because, truly, the answer is not black and white. Sizing can be such a gray area, though it does deserve consideration for health risks. On the contrary, though, sizing should not depict how women accept and love their bodies.

Obesity Rates Are Increasing

Two-thirds of the U.S. population is considered overweight or obese. This is based on body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on both height and weight (mass).

A high BMI and carrying extra weight to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. On the other hand, an "underweight" classification may be associated with malnutrition or even help pinpoint an eating disorder.

But BMI is a general measurement of overall body weight. Body composition, on the other hand, considers certain amounts of fat, muscle, and water. It can also pattern changes in these masses. Methods to measure body composition include waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio detailed above.

The sole fixation should not be on weight and size status, though it should also not be undermined in relation to diseases risk. The focus should consider both health and wellness.

Beyond the scale, health metrics include lab values such as blood glucose and lipids. Wellness embodies the complete package such as emotional and spiritual wellbeing. So instead of weight, also reflect on energy levels and personal feelings toward the mind and body.

All-Inclusive Modeling Is Increasing, Too

Fashion and clothing industries are leaning towards all-inclusive branding. And fashion models like Ashley Graham are showing beautiful is not designated to size.

A reimagined branding strategy is helping dilute stigmas to look thin and alleviating dangerous measures to do so. Because what is considered small for a woman may seem healthy, but not always.

Truly, a woman wearing a size small can be equally healthy, or even not as healthy, as another wearing larger size clothes. This is because genetics and other factors come into play with weight.

What's more, a woman with a waist measurement of 34 can lead an active lifestyle and eat a healthy diet similar to a commercial model with a size 26 waist. Despite the variances in their sizing, both women are considered to be in good health and devoid of any chronic health conditions.

And also equally as important, both women may feel confident and comfortable in their own skin despite differences in their size and weight.

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on September 11, 2019.

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