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What a Waist: A Potential Link to Type 2 Diabetes

Dozens of previously published studies provide evidence that being overweight can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While body mass index (BMI) generally has been the accepted method of calculating obesity, other specific body measurements, such as waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), also are potential considerations.

In a recent study, researchers analyzed the incidence of diabetes in a group of more than 27,000 men ages 40 to 75. Men were tracked over a 13-year period, with body weight and height recorded at one and 10-year intervals. Other pertinent information on physical activity levels, dietary intake and incidence of smoking also were recorded at regular intervals.

Men with waists larger than 29-34 inches (diameter) were up to 12 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during the 13-year span of the study, and when the waist-to-hip ratio was above normal, the risk of developing diabetes was seven times greater than for people with normal WHRs.

According to the authors of the study, the size of your waist might provide important insight into the potential diagnosis of diabetes. If your patients have questions about ways to predict, prevent or treat type 2 diabetes, a good source of information (besides you, of course) is the American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.com.

Wang Y, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, et al. Comparison of abdominal adiposity and overall obesity in predicting risk of type 2 diabetes among men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2005;81:555-63.

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Date Last Modified - Wednesday, 17-Dec-2008 12:43:01 PDT