More than half of British women's waists 'too big'

An overweight person walks through Glasgow City centre Larger waists could lead to an increased chance of fertility problems

Related Stories

More than half of British women have waists that are larger than the recommended healthy size, experts say.

Researchers from the charity Nuffield Health say overweight women risk an increased chance of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility and cancer.

The researchers found the average waist measurement for women is 84.9cm (33.43in), compared with the healthy size of 80cm (31.49in).

Nuffield Health's Dr Davina Deniszczyc said it was a "worrying problem."

Dr Deniszczyc, professional head of physicians and diagnostics at Nuffield Health, said: "Fat being stored around the waist can contribute to significant health issues, such as breast cancer and infertility."

Nuffield Health examined data from more than 30,000 women and found 57% had a waist larger than the healthy size.

It said women in the north of England have the largest waists, with an average circumference of 87cm, compared to 81.9cm in London.

Researchers also said 52.5% of the women have a body mass index (BMI) higher than the healthy range, while 16.2% were moderately or morbidly obese.

The BMI is calculated by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in metres squared.

A BMI level measured between 25 and 29.9 means a person is regarded as overweight. If your BMI is over 30 then you are clinically obese.

Dr Deniszczyc said: "Whilst waist size may seem like a cosmetic issue, this isn't about women fitting into their skinny jeans. Rather, it's an important indicator of overall health and well-being, particularly when taken into account with other health measurements.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    I am 43, 5'1" and weigh 63 kg. I look fat and feel fat, despite the fact that I eat a healthy diet (in both quality and quantity) and do aerobic exercise for about an hour a day.

    In the last year, I've lost a grand total of 3kg. It seems I just can't win. I'm sure people view me as fat, even though if they knew me they'd realise I'm doing everything I can. I will never resort to surgery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    I honestly don't understand fat people. All it takes is to eat less and do a bit of exercise - why would you let yourself get to the stage where you're obese without a bit of self control. I know this probably won't be a popular opinion because people on here seem to have all sorts of excuses. However, just because it isn't easy to change at the start is no excuse for being fat!

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    When the government is passing out a "body image" portfolio free of charge to parents and is promoting the idea of "body image" lessons in schools it seems a little strange that we are knocking the "fatties" so badly in this HYS?

    I agree healthy diet and an active lifestyle is good for you but isn't it about freedom of choice? Can big be beautiful? I don't know but we need to make our minds up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    This is ridiculous.

    As a fat guy, I am healthier than most thin people I know - my blood pressure is good, my risk of heart attack is in the 1% group; I exercise, and while my diet is not the greatest, I'm healthy for all intents and purposes.

    Being fat/large does not mean you're unhealthy; it might mean you have some unhealthy habits, but I see just as many health issues for thin women.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    I am female. My waist in 2010 was 44 in (111 cm) and I had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and felt very unwell. By dieting from 75 kg (11 st 11) to 52 kg (8 st 3 lb) - no secret: eat much less - my waist is now 28 in (71 cm) and I no longer have type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure and feel great.


Comments 5 of 6


More Health stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.