An expanding waistline is a strong marker of an individual's risk of becoming insulin-resistant. Individuals who are insulin-resistant do not use insulin correctly. For example, they may have blood levels of glucose that are greater than normal but have not reached the range indicating prediabetes. The researchers explained that the extra weight is a leading and preventable risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The study included 2746 men and women between the ages of 18 and 72 who had waist circumferences ranging from 65 to 150 cm. The participants had their height, weight, and waist and hip sizes measured and a blood sample taken to examine insulin sensitivity. The researchers found that waist size was a strong indicator of insulin resistance. "Waist circumference is a simple tool to exclude insulin resistance and to identify those at greatest risk,"reported study author Hans Wahrenberg, MD, in the British Medical Journal (April 15, 2005).