Widening Waistlines Predict Diabetes in Men

Belt size beats body mass index as disease indicator, study finds

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TUESDAY, March 22, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A new study supplies more proof those "love handles" and "spare tires" need to go: Researchers say a man's waist size beats his body mass index in predicting whether he'll develop type 2 diabetes.

"Abdominal fat measured by waist circumference can indicate a strong risk for diabetes, whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his body mass index [BMI]," study author Dr. Youfa Wang, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a prepared statement.

Reporting in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Wang's team analyzed data collected from more than 27,000 men tracked for more than 13 years as part of the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

They found that men with larger waists or higher BMI were both at greater risk for type 2 diabetes than slimmer men.

Compared to men with the smallest waists (29 to 34 inches), those with waists of 34.3 to 35.9 inches, 36 to 37.8 inches, 37.9 to 39.8 inches, and 40 to 62 inches were two, three, five and 12 times more likely, respectively, to develop diabetes.

Based on these findings, the currently recommended waistline of 40 inches or below for men may need to be lowered, the study authors suggested.

"Many of the men who developed type 2 diabetes had measurements lower than the cutoff," Wang pointed out.

More information

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse has more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, news release, March 17, 2005

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