HMM: The Big Number: 35 inch or larger waist size linked to increased health risks in older women. “A woman’s body shape, and not just her weight, may have an impact on her health. Women with a waist circumference of 35 inches (88 centimeters) or more face an increased risk for obesity-related health issues, including premature death, according to new research culled from the long-term Women’s Health Initiative study. And that was so even if a woman’s weight or body mass index (BMI) was within a normal range.”