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How long are you going to live?

written by Vidya Sury July 8, 2008

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We all worry about how long we’re going to live, and doctors tell us that one important indicator is our BMI (body-mass index). But there’s another measurement that’s just as important, and which takes seconds to do.

Researchers have discovered that our waist circumference is just as vital as our BMI for predicting just how long we have to live. The crunch seems to be at 40 inches (102 cm) for a man, and 34.6 inches (88 cm) for a woman. If that’s your waist measurement or if it’s even higher, you increase by 20 per cent your chances of dying sooner.

Researchers from the National Institute on Ageing made the discovery when they analysed the BMI and waist measurement of 154,776 men and 90,757 women who, at the time, were between 51 and 72 years old.

They then checked back nine years later, and those with a large waist were 20 per cent more likely to have died, even after allowing for their BMI levels.

(Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008; 167: 1465-75.)

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Vidya Sury

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