Your body is made up of water, fat, protein, carbohydrate and various vitamins and minerals. If you have too much fat - especially if a lot of it is at your waist - you're at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. That increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Obesity is now recognized as a major, independent risk factor for heart disease. If you're overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off.
Waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) are indirect ways to assess your body composition. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is another index of body fat distribution. However, WHR is less accurate than BMI or waist circumference and is no longer recommended.