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Large waist circumference associated with risk of death

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Patients carrying large amounts of weight around their waists are more likely to die, according to a study.

Researchers studied waist circumference and waist-to-hip ration among 359,387 participants from nine countries in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

During a mean follow-up of 9.7 years, 14,723 participants died. After adjustment for BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ration were strongly associated with risk of death.

Men in the highest quintile of waist circumference were more than twice as likely to die compared with those in the lowest quintile.

Men in the highest quintile of waist-to-hip ratio were 68% more likely to die than those in the lowest quintile. Women in the highest group were 51% more likely to die.

Authors wrote: ‘These data suggest that both general adiposity and abdominal adiposity are associated with the risk of death and support the use of waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio in addition to BMI in assessing the risk of death.’

New England Journal of Medicine (2008) 359: 2105-2120

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