"Beer Bellies" and The Rising Odds of Type 2 Diabetes

Just as a reminder, the simplest things are oftentimes the best of them all, I was drawn to this study about the link between a man's waist size being a better predictor of his risk for type 2 diabetes than the commonly used body mass index (BMI) tool.

That's certainly nothing new, as a study I posted last year confirms. What's intriguing and worth noting here, however, is how this more recent study digs deeper to establish a stronger relationship *by the numbers* between waist size and the dramatic rise in a man's risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers divided patients into five groups based on waist size. Compared to men in the smallest range (29-34 inches), here's how a man's risk of diabetes rose as his waist expanded (assessed using waist circumference and waist-hip ratio):

  • 34-35.9 inches = 2 times the risk.
  • 36-37.8 inches = 3 times the risk.
  • 37.9-39.8 inches = 5 times the risk.
  • 40-62 inches = 12 times the risk.

Based on these results, scientists believe the generally accepted cutoff for the starting point of a man's elevated risk of type 2 diabetes (40 inches) may need to be lowered.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 81, No. 3, 555-563, March 2005

EurekAlert March 17, 2005

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