News / Health

Larger Waist Associated With Greater Risk Of Death

Research shows weight doesn't matter, only waist size

New research suggests the size of your waist can predict your chance of death.
New research suggests the size of your waist can predict your chance of death.

Multimedia

Audio
Rose Hoban

As the rate of obesity in many countries continues to rise, health officials worry about the expanding waistlines of their citizens.



And it turns out there's reason to worry. New research suggests the size of your waist can predict your chance of death.  

Eric Jacobs and his colleagues from the American Cancer Society asked about  a 100,000 older Americans - men and women, rich and poor, smokers and non-smokers - to measure their waistlines intermittently over a nine-year period.

Jacobs says there's something about the fat that gathers near the waist that makes it particularly harmful.

"We know that deep abdominal fat has been linked with higher blood levels of cholesterol and insulin," he says. "Also inflammation-related proteins that have been linked to cardiovascular disease."

During the nine years they followed their subjects, 9,300 of the men and 5,300 of the women died.  Jacobs and his colleagues reviewed the information they had about them: their weight, height and their waist size.

"And what we saw was that the bigger the waist size, the greater the risk of death," Jacobs says. "In fact, those with the very biggest waist sizes had about twice the risk of dying as those with the smallest waists."

Jacobs says the deaths were from all causes, not just cancer, or heart disease or lung disease. Simply having a larger waist made it more probable that someone would die sooner. And in Jacobs' analysis, it turns out it didn't matter how much people weighed, either, only their waist size mattered.

"For example, among women with weights that were considered normal for their height, the risk of dying increased about 25 percent for each additional 4 inches (10 cm) of waist size," Jacobs says.

He explains someone who's sedentary and someone who's active could weigh the same, but the person who didn't do much exercise would probably have more abdominal fat. The active person's weight might come more from muscle which is denser than fat  - so, it adds weight without adding inches.

"So even if your weight is considered normal for your height, even if you haven't noticed a big weight gain, if your waist size is starting to increase, if you are having to move into a bigger pants size, that's a signal that you need to start eating better and exercising more," Jacobs says.

And he says there's really no short cut.  There's no proven method to lose so-called 'belly fat.'  Diet and exercise are really the only ways to shrink waist size.

His article is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs