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Your waist size is a clue to your risk of heart disease


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The need to measure waist circumference in the clinic is partly due to body mass index limitations.Leila Bird / Getty Images
  • A group of experts from the American Heart Association To measure the patient’s waist circumference Measures the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The need to measure waist circumference in the clinic is partly due to body mass index (BMI) restrictions.
  • BMI does not indicate where fat is — it can affect a person’s health risks.

When trying to reduce the risk of obesity-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, monitoring weight changes seems like a good way to track progress.

However, while it is easy to step on the scale every day, it may not provide the best snapshot of the health risks that result from carrying excess fat, especially the weight around the abdomen.

Instead, a group of experts recommend measuring waist circumference along with a body mass index (BMI), which is a combination of height and weight, as a way to identify people at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

“Recent data highlight abdominal obesity, which is determined by waist circumference, as a risk marker for cardiovascular disease independent of the classification of obesity index,” they wrote in a new article. Scientific statement From the American Heart Association

The authors also asked doctors to measure the patient’s waist circumference on a regular basis. This can be especially useful for patients trying to lose weight.

Patients with BMI [waist circumference] The author writes, “as a guide to the effectiveness of weight loss treatment,” as well as for the initial assessment of the degree of overweight and obesity.

Some clinical Guidelines Already, doctors are asking you to measure your waist circumference with your BMI to identify patients who are at greatest risk of being overweight or obese.

But Robert RossA PhD in obesity researcher at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, said more needs to be done to measure hip circumference on a regular basis, just like any other vital sign. I will.

“We measure blood pressure in all patients,” he said. “Waist circumference is not as difficult to measure as blood pressure. Why can’t I measure my waist for another two minutes?”

The need to measure waist circumference in the clinic is partly due to BMI limitations.

For example, weight lifters with very low body fat may be misclassified as overweight or obese when using BMI because they have a large amount of muscle mass relative to their height.

For other groups, BMI provides a relatively clear image of a person’s overall body fat, but does not indicate where the fat is. This can affect a person’s health risks.

People who carry heavy weight around their abdomen (apple-shaped body) are at increased risk Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature death..

These health risks are lower for pear-shaped people who put weight on their lower back and thighs.

“Premenopausal women tend to accumulate excess fat or weight in the lower body,” Ross said. “When it comes to health risks, they tend to be more benign.”

Using BMI along with the waist circumference helps doctors distinguish between these two shapes.

In addition, the use of BMI alone may not capture the health risks of the elderly.

As you age, you tend to lose muscle mass, but you may also gain weight around your abdomen. Therefore, even if your overall weight (and BMI) remains the same, you may shift to a body shape that is associated with higher health risks.

By measuring the waist circumference, you can capture changes in fat distribution.

Several studies have investigated the association between waist circumference and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Ross and his colleagues discuss many of these in a recent treatise published in the journal. Nature Review Endocrinology..

One of these the study We found a strong association between waist circumference and risk of premature death, regardless of BMI.

“For each BMI unit, increasing waist circumference significantly increases the risk of death,” said Ross, who was not involved in the study.

This was true even when researchers considered factors such as people’s smoking status, drinking, and physical activity.

In addition to estimating a person’s health risks, waist circumference can be used to track progress as you start exercising on a regular basis or improve your diet. Weighing alone can be overlooked.

“Randomized controlled trial participants are always in touch.” The scales don’t work together, but my dress fits better and my pants fit better, “Ross said.

This change in waist size is not only a good indicator of improved health, but it also helps keep people motivated.

“Instead of feeling that people have failed in their attempts to deal with obesity, they are empowered,” Ross said. “The bathrooms may not be downsized or may not be working as expected, but these other measures have been improved.”


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