Beer belly, muffin top, spillage, or gut. Whatever you call it, that large waist may be more dangerous than originally thought. A recent research publication states that a large waist is an important warning sign for diabetes.
CNN Health reported about a 17-year study regarding waist measurements and what they mean for our health. Previously, Body Mass Index (BMI) was the standard form of measurement to help determine if one’s weight was putting their health at risk. But more recently, the height-to-weight ratio has come under criticism as it fails to distinguish fat from muscle and it doesn’t focus on the location of fat on the body. This study found waist size to be a better marker of health risks like diabetes.
Researchers in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in the UK, measured the waist size and BMI of nearly 30,000 middle-aged Europeans. This group was followed for 17 years. Those who started overweight, not obese, yet had a large waist were more likely than obese people with normal or moderately sized waists to develop type 2 diabetes. A large waist is defined as 40 inches for a man and 35 inches for a woman.
Ten years into this study, 7 percent and 4.4 percent of men and women in the large waist group had developed diabetes. However, out of the men and women in the moderate waist size group, only 4.9 percent and 2.7 percent respectively developed the disease. Researchers concluded that diabetes risk was more closely related to waist size than BMI.
The measurement of the waist appears to be especially helpful in identifying diabetes risks in those who are simply overweight, not obese. Obesity is an obvious risk for diabetes, but being overweight creates difficulties for doctors to measure who might be more vulnerable to the disease. While some people can be overweight, they may just gain weight in their hips and thighs, which is not being linked to diabetes risk like those who gain weight in their belly.
Dr. Abraham Thomas, M.D. is the head of endocrinology and diabetes at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI. He explained why a large waist measurement could indicate a higher risk for diabetes.
“The visceral fat that surrounds the organs and intestines in the abdomen produces a lot of hormones, which have implications for making the body resistant to insulin and can contribute to inflammation.”
Get out your tape measures and make certain your waist size isn’t putting you at risk.