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Hazardous waist – the real killer?

A simple tape-measure can give you the most convincing insight into your risk of dying prematurely. An American Cancer Institute-funded study published this month reports that “men and women with the biggest waistlines have twice the risk of dying over a decade, compared to those with smaller tummies” (Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(15):1293-1301).

According to the authors, men with a waist size of 47 inches and over (120cm), and women with a waist of 43 inches and over (109cm), had about twice the risk of dying during the nine-year period of the study than those with a waist size of 35 and 30 inches (89 and 76cm) respectively.

Large waistlines have already been linked to a higher incidence of diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. But this study found something new: the risk of death increases progressively with increasing waist size, even in those who are not generally overweight or whose body mass index (BMI) is within normal limits.

So if you’ve been noticing a little “spread” round the middle recently, reach for the tape-measure – and take action if it gives you unwelcome news!

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