Diabetes Can Be Predicted By Waist Size, Study Shows

Diabetes is one of the largest health crises America faces, and the preventability of the disease is one of its most frustrating aspects.

Of diabetes sufferers, only 5% suffer from type 1 diabetes, while the overwhelming 95% have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with lifestyle in many cases, and maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are known to help stave off diabetes.

New research in diabetes prediction has been published in the medical journal PLoS Medicine- and the findings say that while BMI has been used in the past to determine whether a person will develop diabetes, waist size alone is also a predictor even if a person is not obese.

12,400 people who had type 2 diabetes were included in the study, alongside around 16,100 people who did not have the condition. For the study's criteria, a "large waist" was defined as more than 35 inches for a woman, or 40 inches for a man. WebMD posted some of the study's findings:

  • Overweight women with a large waist (35-plus) and overweight men with a large waist (40-plus) had a 10-year incidence of diabetes similar to that of obese people.
  • Higher waist size and higher BMI were each linked with higher diabetes risk.
  • High waist size was a stronger risk factor for women than for men.

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  • Obese men with a large waist (40-plus) were 22 times more likely to develop diabetes than men with a low-normal BMI (18.5-22.4) and a smaller waist (less than 37 inches).
  • Obese women with a large waist (35-plus) were nearly 32 times as likely to get diabetes than women of low-normal weight and a smaller waist (less than 31 inches).
Researchers say it is the type of fat that collects around a person's midsection believed to be a factor in whether or not an individual later develops diabetes.