The Role of Waist Circumference in Weight and Diabetes Management

weight-loss-diet-freeimages-comSo many people think the only thing they need to do to prevent diabetes is to step on the scale. However, there’s more to proper weight management than just keeping your actual weight down. In fact, you also need to take your waist circumference into consideration.

Waist circumference actually plays a direct role in determining your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Carrying your fat around your middle could trump anything your body mass index or BMI score says.

According to a study published by the PLoS Medicine journal, the combination of the BMI and your waist circumference is a much more accurate predicator of diabetes risk than just the BMI alone. This is primarily thought to be due to the fact that visceral fat carried in the abdomen is directly linked to diabetes. Undergoing efforts for weight management then need to focus on the abdominal area in particular, not just on overall weight loss.

To determine if you’re at risk, you need to first take a measurement of your waist. To do this, bust out the measuring tape and wrap it around your torso. It should fall at the narrowest point, which is a bit above your hips. Jot down the measurement you observe.

A normal waist measurement for men is below 34.6 inches. Anything above 40 inches is big, however, and puts you at an elevated risk of diabetes. The average waist for women is 31.5 inches and anything above 35 inches puts you in the elevated risk category. These measurements are extremely helpful in weight management, because they don’t factor in overall body fat. While you may weigh more than average or qualify as “overweight” according to the BMI chart, you may not be all that unhealthy if your waist measurement is within normal ranges.

Likewise, your BMI may be normal and make it look like you’re completely healthy. But if your waist size is larger than normal, you could still be at a higher risk than other people. This is particularly common amongst the elderly, who’ve lost much of their muscle tone and bone density, but still carry abdominal fat.

While there’s no foolproof way to determine your risk of diabetes, taking waist circumference under consideration is yet another tool to add to your BMI and family history information for figuring out where you stand and what steps you need to do to enact proper weight management.

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