Wider Waists on Women Could Harm Heart

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Researchers at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City say that women with a waist circumference of 35 in or more are more likely to develop heart disease than women with smaller waistlines. They analyzed data from 6000 women who had their waistlines measured on National Women?s Heart Day in February 2005. The study found that about 90% of these women had at least 1 major risk factor for heart disease, and one third had 3 or more, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The results were published in the January 19, 2006, issue of the Journal of Women?s Health.

Almost 50% of the women with high total cholesterol or low high-density lipoprotein levels said none of their doctors ever told them. Forty-three percent of the women had blood glucose levels that were higher than normal, and 16% with no documented history of hypertension were found to have blood pressure readings high enough to require treatment. The group that sponsored the free screenings, Sister to Sister, pointed out that most of these women would not have been aware of their conditions without having their waists measured. Larger waistline has been correlated with a woman?s 10-year chance of having a heart attack or dying of heart disease.