MONDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Among middle-aged and older adults, having a large waist can significantly raise the risk for dying prematurely, new research indicates.
The association appears to apply to both men and women, the study authors noted. What's more, having a normal weight does not, in fact, protect against such risk if you carry any excess weight in your abdominal region.
"A larger waist size was found to be linked to a higher risk for dying from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer at every measure of body mass index," noted study author Eric J. Jacobs, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.
Jacobs and his colleagues report their findings in the Aug. 9/23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The authors noted that having a large waist circumference has previously been linked to a higher risk for having a wide swath of health problems including diabetes and heart disease, independent of overall weight and body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measurement that takes into account a person's height and weight.
Some suggest that the linkage stems from the greater presence of fatty tissue around organs in the abdominal area that seems to go hand-in-hand with having a larger waist size.
To specifically explore a potential association between waist circumference and a generally higher risk for death, the team looked at data concerning about 48,500 men and 56,000 women who had participated in a large national cancer study. Jacobs pointed out that the sheer size of this group meant that the current study is one of the largest efforts ever launched to examine any linkage between waist size and mortality.
All of the patients were aged 50 or older, with an average age of between 67 and 69. Between 1992 and 1993, all had completed health questionnaires concerning their medical histories, while weight an
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