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Study links large waist size to higher diabetes rates among Americans
Date:10/6/2010

States and England, researchers found no association between higher diabetes rates in the United States based upon conventional risk factors such as age, smoking, socio-economic status or body mass index, the commonly used ratio of height and weight that is used to measure obesity and over-weight.

The conventional risk factors for diabetes were similar among both the American and English populations. Americans had slightly higher scores on body mass index and were a little older. The English were less educated and more likely to have smoked.

However, American men had waists that averaged 3 centimeters larger than their English peers and the waists of American women were 5 centimeters bigger than English women. American women were significantly more likely to face higher risk because of their waist size when compared to English women (69 percent to 56 percent), while American men had only a slightly higher waist risk than their English peers.

The higher waist size of Americans posed more risk compared to their English peers across most body mass index categories. For example, among women with normal weight, 41 percent of American women were categorized as having high waist risk compared to 9 percent of English women.

The study concludes that waist circumference explains a substantial proportion of the higher diabetes rate in America for men and virtually all the higher rate seen among women.

Researchers say there may be many reasons why Americans have larger waists than their English peers. It may be caused by different rates of physical activities through exercise or daily activities, diet differences or perhaps other social and environmental factors such as stress that occur in the United States.

Researchers say that future research needs to address the different mechanisms that may be responsible for this association. For example, there is evidence that fat in the midsection has a different metabolism than fat
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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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