Larger waists linked to diabetes in new study

NEW YORK A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that the nation's average larger waist circumference is an indicator as to why the diabetes rate in America is higher than the rate in England.

James Smith, corporate chair of economics at the nonprofit organization RAND Corp., and researchers found that American men's waists were an average of 3 cm (1.5 in.) larger than those of men in England. Similarly, American women's waists were an average of 5 cm (2 in.) larger than those of women in England.

Analyzing studies about the health and lifestyles of large numbers of people from the United States and England, researchers found no association between higher diabetes rates in the United States based upon such conventional risk factors 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 overweight levels.

"Americans carry more fat around their middle sections than the English, and that was the single factor that explained most of the higher rates of diabetes seen in the United States, especially among American women. Waist size is the missing new risk factor we should be studying," Smith said.

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