Waist Circumference Predicts Early Death

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When is Your Stomach Too Fat?

Diabetes UK advises that the following waist measurements put people at risk:

  • Women: 31.5 inches (80 cm)
  • White and black men: 37 inches (94cm)
  • South Asian men: 35 inches (90cm)

These measurements are the maximum waist sizes that should be allowed, in reality there are great health benefits to keeping your waist much smaller. If your waist is too large read our guide and learn how to start losing weight.

Science report

A scientific report published in August 2010 confirmed that if you are overweight, and specifically have excess stomach fat, you are at much greater risk of early death than people of a healthy weight.

In the study researchers at the American Cancer Society examined statistics from men and women over the age of 50. The analysis provided a clear relationship between large stomachs and the inset of terminal illnesses.

Men with a waist larger than 47 inches and women with a waist larger than 42 inches are twice as likely to die early than people with smaller waists. The causes of death are not restricted to weight related issues. Being overweight increases the risk of developing a large range of illnesses that can result in death.

This study also highlights the risk of using just the BMI (body mass index scale) to determine if someone is overweight. There are many cases where people have very large stomachs but still fall in the normal BMI range.

If you have little muscle mass and do not carry much fat elsewhere you may have a relatively low BMI (below 30), but you may still have dangerously high levels of visceral fat surrounding your internal organs.

The study concluded that people must not only keep BMI below 30, ideally below 25, but also ensure waist size remains low. Although the study saw biggest problems with waist circumference over 47 inches in men, it is recommended that waist size is kept below 36 inches for the best health.

People are not listening

It seems that no matter how much health advice is given the message that being overweight is not healthy is just not sinking in. In a 2010 study carried out in the UK, 97% of people questioned were still unaware that being overweight, especially having excess stomach fat, was linked with a variety of illnesses including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

When you carry too much weight around your mid-section your estrogen levels increase which are one of the causes of disease.

The main problem is that most people are in denial about their weight problem. Many convince themselves that they have not put on too much weight, and that the extra tummy fat that they are carrying is really OK. This is simply not true.

Even though new guidelines state that you should exercise for 1 hour a day to stay in shape, less that 50% of people do any exercise to help lose weight. Many people just buy bigger clothes.

Three UK health charities have united under the name of Active Fat to help promote health and fitness as a way to beat obesity.

This video below explains why central fat is unhealthy, by explaining the role of “active fat” and how it literally attacks the body.

Did you know that central fat produces chemicals that affect how you handle the fat that you carry. Fatty tissues build up and restrict blood flow which leads to blockages and heart attack.

The video also explains the role of glucose (blood sugar) and insulin resistance, that leads to type 2 diabetes. There is a lot of good information in this video. Watch it and learn why you need to lose weight.

Another study by GlaxoSmithKline in 2009 showed that 90% of people are still unaware that excess stomach fat is very bad for your health.

Even more shocking was the revelation that 25% of people did not know that being overweight posed any health risk. Those questioned thought that being overweight was just a social or image problem, and not actually a health problem.

“Most overweight people still see themselves as having a body image issue not a health problem and they need to understand the health benefits of weight loss as well as the cosmetic results,” Dr Terry Maguire, Queen’s University in Belfast.

Although many people measure BMI (body mass index) to determine if they are seriously overweight or obese, it is now thought that a much better measure of health is waist circumference.

The only healthy way to lose weight is through a combination of healthy eating and exercise. Short term fad diets do not work, ab exercises do not work, and infrequent exercise and overeating does not work. Y

ou need to workout several times a week, do weight bearing exercises, and eat a lean, healthy and balanced diet.


  • Waist Circumference and All-Cause Mortality in a Large US Cohort” by, Eric J. Jacobs, PhD; Christina C. Newton, MSPH; Yiting Wang, PhD; Alpa V. Patel, PhD; Marjorie L. McCullough, ScD; Peter T. Campbell, PhD; Michael J. Thun, MD; Susan M. Gapstur, PhD. Published in Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(15):1293-1301. doi: 10.1001 / archinternmed.2010.201

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