Why Waist Circumference Matters

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • If you carry extra weight around your belly, you are more likely to develop heart disease than someone who carries his/her weight in the hips. Experts agree that obesity around the abdomen is more significant than overall obesity.


    While Body Mass Index (BMI) is an industry standard for measuring chronic disease based on obesity, it does not differentiate between fat and muscle. Therefore, someone with a very high muscle mass will be considered overweight or obese by BMI standards. BMI is not accurate for measuring health in people under five feet as well as older adults.


    Waist circumference is the measurement of your waist, just above your belly button. A larger waist circumference is an accurate predictor of abdominal fat, which increases your risk for heart disease. Women with a waist circumference larger than 35 inches and men with a waist circumference larger than 40 inches have a higher risk for heart disease than those with smaller waist sizes.

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    If your waist measurement meet or extends the thresholds listed above than your risk for heart disease may be doubled. Losing some of the weight around your middle will help lower this risk. A well-balanced diet that does not exceed your recommended daily calories and a physically active lifestyle can help you shed the excess weight.


    A low-calorie diet shouldn’t be low on nutrients. A well-balanced diet includes foods from all of the food groups. While there are many fad diets out there that recommend limiting and even eliminating entire food groups, they are not healthy. Our body needs nutrients from all of the food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein and fat.


    The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends exercising for 60 minutes every day if you are trying to lose weight. However, if do not currently exercise than any increase in physical activity will be beneficial. And be sure to speak with your physician before beginning a new exercise regime.


Published On: March 02, 2007