You may not be overweight, or consider yourself to be, but having that spare tyre of fat around your waist could be an indicator that you’re at risk of an early visit to the grave.
People in the top 20% of waistline sizes have twice the risk of dying early and the traditional indicator of excess weight, the body mass index (BMI) is no saving grace. Participants in a study who had a relative body mass index but a two inch increase to their waist line increased their risk of an early death by 17% for men and 13% for women.
The study lasted for ten years and involved over 350,000 people from nine European countries. Researchers challenged the traditional BMI test that has been used for years to determine obesity by suggesting that fat deposits around the hips and navel indicated overall health better.
A ‘normal weight’ BMI is between 18.5 and 24 and is calculated by dividing Kg weight by the square of height in metres. However, the study showed that participants aged between 25 to 70 with a normal BMI had an increased risk of dying early if their waistlines were thicker.
A man with a waistline over 47.2 inches was twice as likely to die early during the ten year study period than a man with a 31.5 inch or less waistline. In a woman, that figure was 39.4 inch to 25.6 inch or less.
Fat deposits around the waist can secrete hormones and molecules that may contribute to the development of cancers or heart disease and people with a high BMI are more likely to die from such conditions. Those with low BMI are more prone to dying from lung diseases.
Lowering your BMI and your waistline can be achieved through exercise, diet and cutting out excessive alcohol consumption.