Can Waist Circumference lead to Diabetes?

Good health has for long been linked to body weight.

Weight management has been a subject of discussion in medical as well as social groups as most people have a sedentary lifestyle. Following are some caveats and updates on the obesity issues.

  • New NICE guidelines have included waist circumference as a measure of health.
  • They recommend that the waist circumference remains less than 50% of a person's height.
  • Waist Circumference will help identify people with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Professor Rachel Batterham, consultant in obesity, diabetes, and endocrinology at PCL, said: "Increased Fat in the abdomen increases a person's risk of developing several life-limiting diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The waist-to-hip ratio is a simple, easy-to-use measure that identifies people at increased health risk and would benefit from weight management support to improve their health."
  • TheTwo types of fat:
    • Subcutaneous Fat: The fat under the skin and can be felt from outside
    • Visceral fat: stored deeply in the body. Difficult to detect. Psually forms around organs. Linked to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, and also cancer, and sudden death. Visceral Fat releases Cytokines that are linked to disease.

Measuring the waist circumference (WC):

WC should be measured using non-stretchable flexible tape in a horizontal position, just above the iliac crest, at the end of normal breathing out, in the fasting state, with the subject standing erect and looking straight forward and the observer sitting in front of the subject.

WC Cut-offs for Asian Indians:

Action level 1: Men: 78 cm, women: 72 cm. Any person with WC above these levels should avoid gaining weight and maintain physical activity to avoid acquiring cardiovascular risk factors. These action level 1 cut-off need to be researched further.

Action level 2: Men: 90 cm, women: 80 cm. Subjects with WC above this should seek medical help so that obesity-related risk factors can be investigated and managed.

Recommendations on a healthy lifestyle for Indians:

  • Avoid extended periods of physical inactivity.
  • Brisk walking is an excellent initial mode of exercise.
  • In general, a total of 60 minutes of physical activity is recommended every day; this includes aerobic activity, work-related activity, and muscle-strengthening activity.
  • Person can accumulate physical activity throughout the day in blocks as short as 10 minutes. Work-related activity should be encouraged wherever possible.
  • A dose-response relationship exists between activity and health; the more significant benefit is derived from exceeding minimum recommendations. For ektensive health benefits, adults can increase their aerobic physical activity to 5 hours a week of moderateTintensity or 2.5 hours a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
  • Children should undertake at least 60 min of outdoor physical activity. Screen time (television/computers) should be less than 2 hrs. a day.

To summarize,

waist circumference is a simple measurement of overall health. Maintaining moderate physical activity spread out over the day for at least 60 minutes will provide benefits in the long run for health.

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