Checkup: Larger Waist Size Increases Risk of Death
Most people have a pretty good sense of how much they weigh. Step on a scale and, for better or worse, there you have it. But unless you bought a pair of pants recently, thereís a good chance youíre not so familiar with the size of your waist.
Should you be?
Epidemiologist Eric Jacobs thinks so. About a decade ago he began a study where he had more than 100,000 American men and women, all 50 and older, measure their waist. For the next ten year Jacobs followed his subjectsí health histories, and found something interesting, and a little alarming.
"What we saw was that the bigger the waist size, the greater the risk of death. In those, those with the very biggest waist sizes had twice the risk of dying as those with the smallest waists."
Even for people whose waists were normal for their height, the risk of dying increased 25 percent for each additional four inches of waist size.
Because, Jacobs said, thereís something about belly fat thatís especially harmful.
"It secretes a variety of different compounds into the bloodstream that can directly or indirectly cause metabolic problems. And we know that deep abdominal fat has been linked with higher levels of cholesterol, insulin, and inflammation-related proteins that have been linked with cardiovascular disease."
The weird thing, according to this study, is that even if youíre not technically overweight, the size of your waist still matters. So if you havenít noticed a big weight gain but youíre moving up into bigger and bigger pants sizes, thatís a sign that you need to start watching not only your weight, but also your waist.
Iím Jeremy Shere.