What Waist Size Says About Health Risks

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Waist circumference is an important indicator to know, especially if you have a chronic medical condition, such as heart disease, or have a risk factor for diabetes , such as a family history.

In fact, research shows that waist circumference can have the same value as body mass index (BMI), the relationship between weight and height that can indicate obesity , to predict disease risk and health in general. This is because BMI does not take into account the distribution of body fat.

In contrast, a large waist circumference indicates an accumulation of fat in the intra-abdominal area, and fat in this area can affect internal organs and is more metabolically active than fat in other areas of the body.

A person with a high waist-to-hip ratio faces a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, regardless of whether or not they are overweight .

How to measure your waist circumference

Getting the exact waist size is pretty straightforward:

  1. Stand up and relax. Exhale normally.
  2. Find the thigh bones and wrap the tape measure directly over them. It is best to aim for the middle between the femur and the lower rib. For most people, this location should be just above the belly button, but it can vary.
  3. Make sure the tape is flat against your body and parallel to the floor. It should fit snugly against the skin, but not tight.
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Tips for measuring waist

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that exceeding the following waist circumference can increase your risk of developing conditions associated with obesity :

  • Men: 40 inches
  • Non-pregnant women: 35 inches

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends measuring waist circumference in people with a BMI of 25 or more. However, at least one study found that the risk of developing diabetes was higher in people with a lower BMI but a high waist circumference .

A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, 18.5 to 24.9 is optimal, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and more than 30 is considered technically obese. Body mass index can be calculated by comparing height and weight.

To find your BMI, divide your weight in pounds by your height in inches; Multiply the result by 703 to convert lb / in 2 to kg / m 2 .

When used alone, the BMI measurement is not particularly accurate in predicting health and heart disease risks. Combined with the waist circumference, it provides a clearer image.

Risks of a large waist circumference

There are several serious risks associated with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, including :

Waist circumference and metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of diseases that occur together and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Abdominal or central obesity (with a large waist circumference) along with insulin resistance are considered the two most important risk factors .

Causes of high waist circumference

An increase in waist circumference is often associated with the presence of intra-abdominal visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat that accumulates between and around internal organs. This type of fat is different from "normal" fat, which is directly under the skin and can be pinched. This type of fat is found deep in the abdominal cavity and is believed to have very high inflammatory activity.

Fat cells were once thought to function exclusively as an energy store. However, it is now known that they also release hormones. Among other things, they intervene in the response to infections, inflammations and trauma. They also release inflammatory and anti-inflammatory substances. Inflammation can be a major contributor to diabetes. Fat cells secrete adiponectin, a protein hormone that improves insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and diabetes. However, as the number of fat cells increases, less adiponectin is produced.

If you are under physical, mental, or emotional stress, you may have high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Chronically elevated levels cause your body to store more visceral fat in your abdomen.

How to cut your waist

There are several effective ways to reduce your waist circumference in a healthy way.

  • Lifestyle changes , including a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Stop smoking and keep it
  • If you have type 2 diabetes, metformin and thiazolidinedione medications can help reduce your waist circumference.

Consult with your healthcare professional to determine the best method to reduce your waist circumference if you have exceeded the recommended guidelines.

Get the word of drug information

There are many indicators of health and well-being in general. There is only one waist circumference. This is not a general metric, but it can be a useful clue in determining your long-term health. If you are concerned about your waist size, talk to your doctor about safe ways to lose weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

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