...less than 37 inches. Once you hit this threshold, your risk for diabetes increases significantly.
A simple tape measure may be the best predictor yet of a man's risk of developing diabetes in midlife. A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., concludes that once a man's waist size balloons past 34 inches, his risk for diabetes goes up, report Men's Health and HealthDayNews.
Specifically, a waist size of 34 to 36 inches doubles the risk of diabetes, while a waist size of 36 to 38 inches nearly triples the risk. It gets worse. A waist size of 38 to 40 inches means there is five times the risk, and anything over 40 is 12 times the risk. Who knew love handles could be so dangerous?
While a 34-inch waistline may not be attainable, don't worry. The researchers say the new magic number is 37 inches or less.
The data were collected from 27,270 men who were tracked over 13 years as participants in the Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Led by Dr. Youfa Wang, the researchers determined that waist circumference is a far more useful tool than the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a weight-to-height ratio for assessing who is most at risk for type 2 diabetes. The difference is that the waist size measures abdominal fat, a key risk factor.
Fully 80 percent of the men in this study who developed type 2 diabetes had a BMI of 25, which is the cut-off for being overweight, but half had a waist circumference of 40 inches or higher. Men whose waistlines were this big and also had a BMI of 30 or higher, putting them in the obese category, had more than twice the risk of developing diabetes than those who had either a high BMI or a high waist circumference (but not both).
The study findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.