An international study was conducted which proved that a simple measuring tape is an important tool in analyzing the risk of heart disease than body mass index (BMI). BMI is the composite measure of weight and height.
The study was conducted in 63 countries across the world. The findings were that in men, the risk of heart disease increased by between 21 and 40% for every 14cm increase in waist size. On the other hand women, showed an increase in heart disease risk for every 14.9cm growth in waist size.
This study was conducted among all populations, despite the widely varying waist sizes among the 168,000 people who took part. The findings from the study were presented at the annual conference of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta. The study was conducted with the help of the 6,000 family doctors who measured the waists of all patients who consulted them along with their detailed medical history.
Jean-Pierre Despres, director of cardiology research at University Laval, Quebec, and a member of the study's executive committee said that this would help in identifying patients most at risk. Body mass index, is not a proper indicator of a person's weight. American footballers weighing upwards of 300lbs may cross the boundary for obesity as measured by their BMI, but be healthy because they carry most of their weight as muscle rather than fat.
He said that the type of fat and where it accumulates is more important than the amount. Fat deposited inside the abdomen results in expanding waistline. It secretes toxins into the bloodstream, raises cholesterol and increases the body's resistance to insulin which is essential for controlling blood sugar. Statistics show that about 30,000 people a year die from obesity-related diseases in Britain. Professor Steve Haffner, from the University of Texas, a member of the study executive, said that it is very important to measure the waist circumference and to maintain it thereby preventing various cardiometabolic risks.