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Waist circumference and BMI associated with various health risks


Information provided by Dr. Grant McKernan, Kai Medical

Waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) have been studied as reliable indicators of disease risk. Simply stated, an individual can be highly susceptible to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 diabetes, depending on their waist circumference and/or BMI).

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the categorical cutoff points in regard to BMI are as follows: 18.5 to 24.9 for normal weight, 25.0 to 29.9 for overweight, and 30.0 to 34.9 for obese. In regard to waist circumference, the NIH has determined that men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches and women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches are at an increased risk of disease.

While these points are clear, it is important to note that waist circumference and BMI have long been studied as independent indicators of disease risk. This means that a person, despite having a low BMI (i.e., a “healthy” or “normal” BMI) could be considered to have a high disease risk if they have an abnormally large waist or “apple” shaped figure.

In response to this discrepancy, Dr. Ian Janssen and colleagues sought to determine whether or not the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 diabetes is greater in individuals with high compared to normal waist circumference values within the same BMI category.

Study subjects consisted of 14,924 adults from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey. Subjects were grouped by BMI and waist circumference in accordance with the cutoff points listed above. After adjusting for certain variables (i.e., age, race, poverty-income ratio, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol intake), researchers determined the disease risk in each subject.

Upon completion of the study, it was concluded that those individuals with high waist circumference values were much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, or Type 2 diabetes than those with normal waist circumference values – regardless of which BMI category they fell into.

These observations suggest that losing excess fat from the waist and abdominal area is of great benefit for those wishing to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and other potentially harmful diseases. So in addition to looking better and feeling better, losing excess fat on the body can also save your life!

If you have any questions or concerns about weight loss and/or improving the quality of your life, Kai Medical can help you achieve your goals. Call us today at (720) 378-1391 for a free consultation!

Note: The medical information provided in this article was independently submitted by Kai Medical and was not verified or endorsed by The Castle Pines Connection, LLC.

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