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Time to Tighten up Your Belt?

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

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 weights and heights recorded and noted at one and 10-year intervals. Other pertinent information on physical activity levels, dietary intake and incidence of smoking were also recorded at regular intervals.

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

The study authors concluded that the size of your waist may provide important insight into the potential diagnosis of diabetes. If you have questions about ways to predict, prevent or treat type-2 diabetes, contact your health practitioner or visit the American Diabetes Association Web site at www.diabetes.com.

Reference: 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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