A warning about diabetes, especially for women. A new study in PLoS Medicine finds diabetes linked to a large waist size, even if you’re not heavy enough to be considered obese.
For many years experts have used both body mass index (BMI) and waist size to measure a patients’ risk of disease. Anyone with a BMI of 30.0 or over or a non-obese person with a large waist is considered by medicine to be at risk of diabetes.
This latest study finds that just waist size can predict risk… especially for a woman. The team evaluated data on over 28,500 subjects living in eight European nations who were taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC for short) that looked at lifestyle and other things in relation to chronic disease.
The researchers compared almost 12,400 subjects with type 2 diabetes with almost 16,100 who did not have the condition, looking at waist and BMI data.
They saw that…
- Overweight women (and men) who had a 35-inch (40 inch) plus waist measurement had a 10-year incidence of diabetes that was similar to that of obese subjects.
- Higher waist measurement and higher BMI were both linked with higher risk of diabetes.
- Larger waist measurement was a stronger risk factor for women than men.
- Obese men with a 40 inch plus waist were 22 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those who had low to normal BMI (18.5-22.4) and smaller (under 37 inches) waist.
- Obese women who had a 35-inch plus waist were nearly 32 times as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as those of low normal weight and smaller (under 31 inches) waist.
So a man, or woman, who isn’t obese but does have a very large waist has the same risk of diabetes as an obese individual according to researcher Claudia Langenberg, MD, PhD, from the Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke’s Hospital located in Cambridge, England. It may be that more and more doctors start using tape measures over the scale to assess the health of their patients.
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Waist Size Alone Could Predict This Health Risk… Continued…
A large waist measurement is considered 35 inches (or more) in a woman; 40 inches (or more) in a man. Measuring waistlines exactly the same way each time can be a challenge due to irregularity or inconsistency – which is why many prefer relying on the easier to use BMI, but an accurate waist measure can be recorded if you’re careful.
For those who can’t tell if they even have a waist (with body narrower above the hips than below) here’s a simple tip. Hang your arms at your sides and measure at the place where the point of your elbow falls – you’ll need help, clearly. The measuring tape should wrap around your body snugly, but not be biting into your flesh – to do this, breathe out and then take shallow breaths as you measure
According to the American Diabetes Association almost 19 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, most with type 2 – where the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or the cells of the body don’t use it effectively. This latest research has fine tuned what medical professionals have known for a long time, while also sounding another warning about the dangers of having a large waist size.