On Monday, Archives of Internal Medicine reported, that both men and women with bigger waists ”carry a greater risk of death” even though their weight may be “normal” as measured by the body mass index, or BMI, a standard measure based on weight and height (see the BMI article on this blog). Eric Jacobs, strategic director of pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society, which funded the study, stated that regardless of weight, if your wasteline is larger than it should be, the risk of death from causes including respiratory illnesses, heart disease and cancer is greatly increased. Other studies linked waist size to dementia, heart disease, asthma and breast cancer.
Current estimates show that over 50% of men and more than 70% of women over 50 have waistlines that are larger than would be healthy for their size and age. Average waistlines have expanded by about one inch per decade since the 1960s. The report concludes that men should not exceed 40 inches, and women 35 inches in circumference.
The study also found that BMI was misleading, because irrelevant to symptoms associated with overweight. The study used more than 100,000 subjects, in the period lasting from 1997 to 2006. About 15,000 of them died during this decade. All the measurements summed up, four extra inches around the waist increase the risk of dying from between 15% to 25%. The latter, 25%, was in women with normal BMI. Stop worrying about your BMI, and take a measuring tape or mirror instead! Remember, 1 inch extra around your waste can mean 1 or 2 years of life less. Thus, if Dr.Fisher takes 4 pounds of your fat, thus taking 2-4 inches off of your wasteline, he most probably extended your life by 4-5 years! That is about $1,200 a year, or, if you will, $3.28 a day. Now, can you go to the supermarket and purchase one day of your life for that price?