Are You an Apple or a Pear?

  • author name Lori Good, RN
Two young women

If you carry excess weight around the middle -- in other words, if you’re apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped -- you are at greater risk for several diseases.

The large waist circumference that characterizes “apples” is associated with a host of potentially serious health issues like heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Eating whole-grain foods can help reduce your risk.

What is a Normal Waist Circumference...and How to Measure

An apple body shape means you have too much belly fat. This can put your health at risk even if your weight is normal. For men, a normal waist measures less than 40 inches; for women, less than 35 inches.

You may want someone to help you measure the distance around your waist with a tape measure. The picture shows you the correct area on your body to measure.

  1. Place the tape measure half way between your hip bone and your lowest rib. This will be about 2 inches above your belly button. Wrap the tape measure around you in a circle, making sure the tape measure is level all the way around. The tape measure should not push in or indent the skin.

  2. Relax, exhale and measure.

  3. It is ideal to measure your waist circumference on bare skin. If you are wearing clothes, be sure to measure the same way each time.

What Can You Do?

Replace refined grains with whole grains. Scientists say people who eat at least three servings of whole grains a day have less belly fat. Refined grains, such as white rice or white flour, have both the bran and germ removed from the grain. Although vitamins and minerals are added back into refined grains after the milling process, they still don't have as many nutrients as whole grains do, and they don't provide as much fiber naturally.

How to Choose Whole Grains

Whole-grain versions of rice, bread, cereal, flour, and pasta can be found at any grocery store. When in doubt, check the label. Look for the word whole on the package, and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list. Try to choose items with at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.

Examples of Whole Grains Include:
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Whole-wheat bread, pasta, or crackers
  • Wild rice

No matter what your body shape, eating whole-grain foods is your best choice for good health. If you’re an “apple”, the choice is even more important.

author name

Lori Good, RN

Lori Good, RN, is a registered nurse with Lancaster General Health Community Health and Wellness.

Education: Good holds an associate’s degree in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from Shippensburg University. Her areas of expertise include healthy weight management for children, adults and families, heart health, and group and individual health coaching. She enjoys creating healthy, affordable recipes that are simple to make.

Call: 717-544-3283

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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