I had a chance to attend couple of talks from eminent cardiologists in the country and both of them were relaying the message that body mass index (BMI) does not tell the full story about persons cardiovascular health. BMI indicates if a person is obese and is linked to heart attack. Rather, they said, measurement of the waist is as important to control as BMI. A latest study published in Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that large waist increase the risk of dying.
About the study
Dr Eric Jacobs and his team at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta examined the link between waist circumference and risk of death:
- 48,500 men and 56,343 women were tracked for over nine years
- Participants were predominantly white
- At the start of the study, the average age of the men was 69 years and of the women, 67 years.
- From 1997 until 2006 the deaths of any participants were tracked and the causes noted.
- whether participants were of normal weight, overweight or obese, the...
risk of death increased with increasing waist circumference.
- this risk significantly increased in men with waists measuring 110 cm or more and in women with waists measuring 95 cm or more.
- men and women with very large waists (120 cm or larger in men and 110 cm in women) that the risk of death appears to double during the nine-year study.
- The most common cause of death in those with the strongest link between mortality and waist size was respiratory disease, followed by cardiovascular disease and then cancer.
The study concludes: Our results suggest that, regardless of weight, avoiding gains in waist circumference may reduce risk of premature mortality.”
The researchers acknowledged that the exact reason for increase in mortality with larger waist is not known and needs more investigation. None the less, be watchful of your waist and live longer.