Your Waist Line Matters, A LOT!

As we age our waistline has a frustrating tendency to increase. This happens to almost everyone as a result of changing hormones, lifestyle and genetics. However, this belly bulge becomes a health concern at a certain point, even for those who aren’t overweight or obese by other measures.

For men, a waist circumference of 94cm or more means you have an increased risk of chronic disease and death. Measuring 102cm or more means a greatly increased risk. For women, the corresponding figures are slightly lower: 80cm and 88cm. An increased waist circumference increases your risk of death by 15 – 25%.

To put this in perspective, at age 40 years there is a 3.7% chance of mortality over the next decade, your increasing girth increases this risk to 4.3 – 4.6% chance or mortality.

The greater likelihood is that you will develop chronic diseases that significantly impact your quality of life, freedom and independence. For instance, you are at greater risk of developing are:

  • Cancer
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s

So, for the sake of being there for your family and aging well, rescue your tape measure from the junk draw and review your waist measurement. If it is higher than the above, then you need to review your dietary pattern and lifestyle behaviours / habits to bring the growing concern under control.

Many people measure their waist incorrectly (in the wrong spot), or rely on their belt or trouser size, which is often inaccurate. For an accurate waist measurement make sure you:

  • measure directly over your skin or no more than one item of light clothing
  • take the measurement after breathing out normally
  • have the tape measure fitting snug, but not compressing the skin
  • measure at the halfway point between your lowest rib and the top of your hipbone. This will be roughly in-line with your belly button.

Nereda Merrin

The Balanced Body Nutritionist