Young woman standing in underwear measuring her waist with an inch tape
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Measuring your abdomen can give you a good indication of your health, clothing size and weight-loss progress. According to the McKinley Health Center, men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches and women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches are at an increased risk of unhealthy medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and high cholesterol. To determine how many inches your waist is, learn how to properly measure it.

Strip down to your underwear so you can measure directly over your skin and avoid extra inches from your clothes.

Stand in front of a full-length mirror so you can see what you're doing and ensure that the tape measure isn't crooked. Alternatively, have a friend measure your abdomen.

Bend your upper body to the left side to find your waist. The area to the left side of your waistline where the deepest wrinkles appear is where you should position the measuring tape.

Wrap a flexible, plastic or fabric measuring tape around your waist so it's parallel to the floor. Start and end at the front of you abdomen, right above your bellybutton. Avoid tightening the tape too much -- it should be snug, but not digging into your skin.

Breathe as you normally would, without sucking in or extending your stomach.

Read the tape measure after exhaling, and write down your waist circumference in inches for future reference.