-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Larger waist size, rather
than traditional factors such as obesity, is the major reason why
the United States has a higher diabetes rate than England,
The new findings offer more evidence that excess fat around the
mid-section is a health risk and suggest that studies of type 2
diabetes should focus on waist size along with traditional risk
factors, said the American and British researchers.
Diabetes occurs in about 16 percent of American men, 14 percent
of American women, and 11 percent and 7 percent of men and women in
England, respectively, the study authors noted in a news release
from the RAND Corp., a nonprofit research organization.
When the researchers analyzed studies about the health and
lifestyles of people in the United States and England, they found
no association between higher diabetes rates in the United States
and conventional risk factors such as age, smoking, socioeconomic
status, or body mass index (the height and weight ratio used to
measure overweight and obesity).
But they did find that American men's waists were an average of
3 centimeters (1.5 inches) larger than those of men in England. And
American women's waists were an average of 5 centimeters (2 inches)
larger than those of women in England.
In addition, women in America were much more likely than women
in England to face a higher risk of diabetes because of their waist
size (69 percent versus 56 percent), while American men had only a
slightly higher waist size-related diabetes risk than their
counterparts in England, the study authors found.
"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," study co-author James P. Smith, corporate chair of economics at the RAND Corp., said in the news release.
The study findings were published online Oct. 7 in the
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases has more about
type 2 diabetes risk factors.
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