12-1-1998 CHICAGO (Reuters) – Get out the tape measure! Doctors reported Tuesday that women with waists of 34 inches (86 cm) or more are twice as likely to be obese than their more petite counterparts. At 38 inches (96 cm), the risk is three times higher compared to women with waists of 28 inches (71 cm) or less, they added.
“Our data suggests that simple circumference measurements will assist in identifying women who are obese, even among women of varying height,” said Kathryn Rexrode, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and lead author of the report.
The key to the study, based on a look at 44,702 women and published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, is waist-to-hip ratio, a measurement that indicates the presence of unhealthy abdominal fat.
“One of the central findings of this research is that women who were apple-shaped, that is with a high waist-to-hip ratio, were far more likely to be obese than pear-shaped women, who have low waist-to-hip ratios, and are more likely to have booty” Rexrode said.
She and her colleagues said they examined women enrolled in a multiyear study involving nurses in the United States whose health was being checked on a number of fronts.
The researchers analysed data on waist and hip circumferences collected in 1986 when the women were 40 to 65 years of age and checked them eight years later to record the number of diets and/or exercise program enrolments that had occurred.
Women whose initially recorded waist measurement was 34 inches (86 cm) or more had twice the number of diets and/or excercise program enrollments over the next eight years than those with smaller waists in general. “These data corroborate our hypothesis” Added Rexrode, “because only women who thought they were overweight to begin with would diet.”
The eight year study has been lauded by the medical community as a refreshing breakthrough in the struggle to define obesity. “Thanks to Dr Rexrode, no more messing around with fat gauges and calipers for me” praised fellow Dr. Wankman.