2 Jul

Who are we?

Hello! Thanks for dropping by! We are a group of Year-2 Occupational Therapy students from Nanyang Polytechnic. Often we would hear of how the width of our waist is twice the width of our neck, is it a fact or myth?

Purpose of Interest

Out of curiosity, our group decided to conduct a study on young adults ranging from (18-25 years old) to prove whether the old wives’ tale is a fact or myth. Find out the answers by reading on where we provide detailed statistics and analysis, learn how to measure and find out whether this theory proves accurate to you!

Research Question

Is there a relationship between the circumferences of the waist and neck?

Dependent Variable: Neck circumference measurement of the individual

Independent Variable: Waist circumference measurement of the individual


Null hypothesis (H0): There is no positive relationship between an individual’s neck circumference and his or her waist circumference.

Alternative Hypothesis (H1): There is a positive relationship between an individual’s neck circumference and his or her waist circumference.

Testing for Null Hypothesis

Let p-value be 0.05,


If p value < 0.05, reject H0,

If p value > 0.05, accept H0, reject H1


2 Jul

How was the data collection done?

Data collection was carried out through quota sampling. Our sample size was 40 respondents and our target population was males and females aged 18-25 years old.

How did we gather the samples? What did we use to measure? How often – once or average of three?


Neck measurement: measuring circumference of the neck, in cm.

Waist measurement: measuring circumference of the waist, in cm.


Measuring instrument: 2 calibrated measuring tapes

To increase inter-rater reliability, there were two measurers for this research. The neck and waist measurements were taken by one measurer. This step was then repeated by another. We then took the average of the 2 readings by the two measurers.

  • Neck Measurement

Respondents were asked to stand upright, look straight while facing forward.

Males: Just below Adam’s apple

Females: Just below hyoid bone

  • Waist Measurement

Respondents were asked to stand upright, place their hands by their sides.

Males: Level of navel

Females: Level of elbow crease

Feasibility and Ethics

We included a letter of consent before respondents participated in our study.

Below is a sample of the letter:

Dear Participant,

We are a group of Year 2 students from OT1103. We are doing a Statistics Project to determine the relationship between neck and waist measurements. We greatly appreciate your participation in being our subject for this project. Upon consent, please fill in your particulars and sign below. If at any point in time during the data collection that you feel that you wish to withdraw, kindly inform us. Thank you.




Gender: M/F



Statistical Analysis and Results

2 Jul

Scatter Plot diagram of ALL participants


There is a positive, very strong and significant association between the circumference of the neck and half the circumference of the waist. (r= 0.838, p<0.05, N=40).

Equation (predicting circumference of neck):

Circumference of neck = 0.528* (half of circumference of waist) + 13.639

Is this relationship the same for males and females (sex)?

Scatter Plot diagram of Male and Female participants

Symmetric Measures of Male and Female participants


There is a positive, moderate and significant association between the circumference of the neck and half the circumference of the waist for the females. (r=0.563, p<0.05, N=26)

However the association between the circumference of the neck and half the circumference of the waist is stronger for males, where r=0.847, p<0.05, N=14 indicating a positive, very strong and significant relationship.


1 Jul


From our data analysis, since p<0.05, the null hypothesis (H0) is rejected and the alternative hypothesis (H1) is accepted.

Therefore, we concluded that there is a positive relationship between an individual’s neck circumference and his or her waist circumference.

Extraneous Variables

  1. The participants were mainly polytechnic students, therefore it may not apply to all age groups.
  2. Participants were within the healthy BMI range, therefore, these results cannot be generalised to those who are obese or underweight.
  3. Measurements of the circumference of the waist might be inaccurate as participants might have contracted their abdominal muscles or were inhaling / exhaling.
  4. Locating surface landmarks on the body of participants is subjective and thus positioning of measuring tape for taking the circumferences could differ for each measurer, thereby affecting the measurement.
  5. Clothing such as headgear (e.g. Tudong) and shirts could have affected the measurements (i.e. increase the circumferences).
  6. Sample size is too small, thus results cannot be generalised across the population.

New insights/questions

We did a correlational study for male and female separately and found that there is a more positive correlation between both measurements for males than for females. This may be due to the different positions of measurements taken for the different gender. The other reason could be that participants were generally more concerned about their waist being measured compared to the males, therefore some participants might have contracted their abdominal muscles resulting in inaccuracy of measurement.

Since the proportion of male participants in our study was only 35% of our sample size, therefore, this might have resulted in a more positive correlation between both measurements for the males.

Since the main target population of this project were polytechnic students, we need to have a more varied population age group as well as a larger sample size.  

Another interesting fact that we have found out from journal articles is that the neck circumference can be used as a screening tool to screen for overweight or obese children. In the journals, it was stated that there are significant and positive correlations between BMI and waist circumference, BMI and neck circumference, as well as waist circumference and neck circumference.

So, the next time BMI is required and you are shy about having your waist measured, or you can get them to measure your neck instead!(Article:Neck circumference: an additional tool of screening overweight and obesity in childhood.)

So you no longer have to worry when you cannot try on an “on sale” item such a pair of pants or a skirt. You can always rely on your neck to take the measurement! Happy shopping!!(:


1 Jul

Doreen: This was certainly a myth that I wanted to crack! When shopping for clothes which cannot be tried on, I would always use this method as a gauge. But because it’s such an ‘old-fashioned’ way of measurement, I would always feel so embarrassed and thus I would do it so sheepishly and quickly hoping that no one catches sight of it!

But results showed that there is indeed a positive relationship between these two variables! Despite the possible limitations of our research study leading to inaccurate and non-generalizable results, it was interesting to have been through this entire process. SPSS was a new tool for us to fiddle with. I am impressed that it is extremely smart and helpful in terms of analysing all that data we have collated. Besides, our very approachable Statistics lecturer captivated and motivated us with all her unfailing support and advices with a great deal of patience as well. We are very grateful for that.

This module might be over, but it also sets me on track for what that’s coming ahead – FYP (more stats)!

P/s: And perhaps the next time I need to take my measurements, I would do it with a little more pride! 😉

Karishma:The myth that my group chose to debunk for this project was a rather interesting one. When I would go to shops that would not allow the trial of shorts/pants, I would have to resort to placing it at my waist and gauging whether it would fit me. However, I would often see many people placing the pants around their neck as a measure, and I would wonder if this really worked. Having carried out this project and coming to the conclusion that there is indeed a positive relationship between one’s neck measurement and half of their waist measurement was an interesting discovery! And familiarizing myself with SPSS through this project was good and I am sure it would be helpful in FYP, and in future too.  Also, this experience of relating statistics to a real-life scenario showed me its application better. 

Lianna: I have always wondered why people put the pants’ waistband around their neck in shopping centers. I tried doing it once to see if the measurement of my neck does correlate to the measurement of my waist. I GUESS NOT! (I’ve got a big tummy! HAHA!) Yet, this project has further intrigued my interest in the relationship between an individual’s neck and his/her waist. Generally, there indeed is a correlation. However, there are limitations in our project that we have to consider (i.e people with a body shape like mine). Overall, it was an experience measuring and recording the measurements of different people as I had never used a measuring tape for such a purpose. This statistics module has increased my liking for statistics as now I do not need to manually calculate statistics results as in Junior College. Moreover, statistics makes more sense to me now as I can see how statistics can be applied to life instead of just having to know statistics just for the sake of doing well in an examination. On a side note, perhaps if I lose my tummy fats, there will be a better correlation between my neck and waist measurement! HAHA!

Ling Jia: I used to dread statistics lessons in JC. We had to do manual and tedious calculations on our Graphical Calculators just to obtain the graphs. On top of getting the graphs from the GC, we had to interpret whether or not there is a correlation between the variables and whether the curve is normal. Since secondary school, I have been told that statistics is very important in the future, however, I have never understood how useful and applicable it is until I attended SPSS lectures. Kudos to SPSS! SPSS has made analysis of data entry much easier with just a few clicks away and it gives us results such as the correlation among the various variables. Apart from that, this project has been a fun experience as we get to present and share our findings on the myth on the relationship between neck and waist ratio on a blog instead of the usual class presentation.

Stephanie: I have always wondered whether the myth was true as it was passed down from my mother’s generation. As technology improved, most people would only believe in evidence based research rather than a myth that their mum told them. Doing this project was a great way for us to learn SPSS as the project made SPSS less boring and I was thrilled to know if there was a correlation. Knowing the results, I can be confident in telling my friends that there is indeed a correlation between the neck and waist measurements, based on evidence. I think they will be pretty impressed! However, I do know that there are limitations in this project that can be improved on, to further proved its validity. All in all, I enjoyed using SPSS as it made collating and presenting of data an easier task.