Waist Circumference Signals CV Risks
Excess body fat at the waist may be a sign of impending
cardiovascular disease. Researchers from Italy recently reported
that waist circumference was a better indicator of blood pressure
than body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio. Thus the simplest
measure may also be the most accurate in identifying people who
may be developing components of the metabolic syndrome.
That condition, also called Syndrome X, is a cluster
of medical abnormalities that is believed to be caused by a combination
of genetics, lack of exercise and overeating. It is often found
in people with diabetes, but it also affects those with high blood
pressure who do not have diabetes. It is associated with severe
Waist measures of 40" in men and 35" in
women are considered signs of Syndrome X when two additional symptoms
(high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, BP 135/80 or above or
increased blood sugar) are present.
Findings such as these underscore the importance
of weight loss and exercise to keep blood pressure down and to prevent
the development of cardiovascular problems.
Source: American Society of Hypertension. Spare
tire inflates cardiovascular risks in middle-aged men. Press release,
Sept. 19, 2002.