Growing Waist Circumferences Are a Worldwide Problem

Overweight widespread; bigger bodily measurements linked with more health risks

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A major endeavor to take a snapshot of the state of obesity around the globe found that excess weight was pandemic in most areas and that abdominal obesity had a graded relationship with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The study was published in the Oct. 23 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Beverley Balkau, Ph.D., of Inserm in Villejuif, France, and colleagues analyzed data from 182,970 patients screened in 63 countries as part of the International Day for the Evaluation of Abdominal Obesity (IDEA) study.

Based on body mass index, 24 percent of men and 27 percent of women were obese, and another 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women were overweight. Obesity differed more between regions than the relatively similar overweight rates, with lows near 7 percent in men and women in eastern Asia and highs at roughly 39 percent in women in the Middle East and northern and southern Africa. The frequency of diabetes and cardiovascular disease rose with waist circumference and body mass index, even in normal-weight patients.

"Routine measurement of waist circumference -- a convenient and inexpensive measure in primary care -- provides a clinical marker for risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus in all regions of the world, even in patients with normal weight. The rise in adiposity worldwide is likely to contribute to major increases in morbidity and mortality from diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease unless it can be adequately addressed by public health programs," the authors write.

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