jama-logo.jpgPrevious studies have apparently linked large waist to inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels and heart disease. Here is another article that shed’s light on the demerits of a large waist circumference. Scientists believe that people with larger waist have higher chances of dying from any cause over a nine-year period.

The reason for so many ailments linked to it is probably because waist size has a very strong relation to fat tissue in the viscera. It is it is known that viscera surrounds the organs in the abdomen and is more dangerous than fat tissue under the skin. Investigations determining the association between waist circumference and visceral adipose tissue may help explain the link of waist circumference and risk of death.

Scientists explain, “The reason for the stronger association between waist circumference and mortality among women with low BMI in our study is unclear. Future detailed analyses of the relationship between waist circumference and visceral adipose tissue or measures of insulin resistance within categories of BMI could identify biological reasons for potential differences in the strength of the association between waist circumference and mortality.”

The study included 48,500 men and 56,343 women aged 50 and above. While the median or midpoint age for men was 69 years, for women it was 67 years. Eric J. Jacobs, Ph.D., and colleagues at the American Cancer Society, Atlanta, mentioned that all the study volunteers were previously enrolled in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. In the course of the prior study, participants had completed a questionnaire about demographic, medical and behavioral factors in 1992 or 1993. They had also informed about their weight and waist circumference in 1997.

Investigators share, “Currently available clinical guidelines from the National Institutes of Health are based on evidence from the 1990s. These guidelines recommend that waist circumference be used to identify increased disease risk only among individuals in the overweight and obese categories of BMI. In addition, the NIH guidelines recommend weight loss goals for all patients in the obese category of BMI (30 or greater), but they do not specifically recommend weight loss goals for abdominally obese patients (waist circumference of 88 centimeters or larger in women or 102 centimeters or larger in men) who are in the normal or overweight BMI category unless they also have two or more cardiovascular risk factors or a desire to lose weight.”

A track about the deaths and their causes was maintained by the National Death Index until December 31, 2006. In this timeframe, 9,315 men and 5,332 women died. Throughout the study, various risk factors and body mass index (BMI) were adjusted by the authors. In men very large waists were 120 centimeters or 47 inches or larger and in women it was 110 centimeters or 42 inches or larger.

Individuals with such waist circumference displayed almost double the risk of death. All categories of BMI namely normal weight, overweight and obese were supposedly correlated to a larger waist. But the strongest link was observed in women with a normal weight. The findings can possibly alter future guidelines for obesity.

The study is published in the August 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.