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

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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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    Just type BBW into any internet search engine to find out what the world really thinks of the larger lady.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    Shame that with so many folk having large waists, they select a picture with a large bum, no waist in sight!

    This comment apart, I think it is a good idea to remind people that there is a risk to health if we do not keep an eye out for the warning signs - this is a warning sign which is easily spotted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    @63. KnowYourRights
    "More Anorexic people with waist lines the size of 80cm 31.49in
    what ever next?"

    31.49" hardly anorexic, it's actually not that small (it's 4.5" larger than mine and I'm a size 8-10 - not tiny). In the 70s the average waist size was 28", it's gone up a lot in a few decades.

    Stop overreacting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Went to M&S at 4 pm on Sunday - and all the women and half of the men were seriously overweight - some totally obese. I just wondered whether like B&Q have a day set aside for old people - whether in the same way M&S have a fatties day on Sunday?

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Too! many Researches confuses the rest off us today its waist sizes (weight issues) tomorrow were back to alcohol and smoking, there's nothing wrong with being educated or informed but we have to recognize our own signals, our bodies will always tell us when something is going wrong and if you ignore the signals then an early or painful death will be the the bodies way of saying 'I told you so'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    Being a thin, very pretty and shapely person, I get black looks from the tubby girls after work. A sparkling water in the pub while they are all downing post feminist pints seems to set us apart.

    But never mind I am very popular with the handsome young men and that suits me fine

  • 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 126.

    @73. Colin Sutton
    Michael Jordan - arguably the greatest basketball player that ever lived was deemed over weight in accordance to the BMI Index when he was at his peak.

    What a ridiculous argument, the BMI is a reference but not an actual % measure of fat.

    Are you trying to tell me that an ever expanding waist line could actually mean those people are super athletes underneath!

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    I have a 29inch waist, I do light exercise, rarely eat fatty foods, and I'm always told that I'm skinny because its in my genes!!!! When will people start taking responsibility for what they are doing to their own bodies!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    I think the supermarkets could do more to help the problem by not having so many special offers on unhealthy food.

    It's so EASY to buy 4 chocolate bars for £1, and so HARD to resist eating them once you get them home.

    I stopped buying them, and removed the temptation!

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    I'm so glad the fashion for young women to show off their muffin top seems to have passed. Most of em should have kept their fat bellies covered up. What was going through their heads?

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    What about men?

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    I imagine a lot of reporters went to Poland for the football and suddenly saw lots of slim women and thought "My God! women can look that healthy and attractive, not just one or two out of ten, but all of them!" And then they come back to England (or Ireland) and realise that the women are all living in denial about their obesity and if you mention it you get irrational ire your way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    The great thing about the USA is that everyone takes care of their body because they know that they will have to pay for their own healthcare if they get ill. Telling people to take personal responsibility just works, because it's really *that* simple. This is why the USA is one of the healthiest nations on Earth.

    Oh wait...

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    "I can't believe so many comments here are effectively still arguing the case that women are ok if they are overweight. It is NOT ok. It is both unhealthy and unsightly."

    Why do I get the impression that if it were unhealthy but considered sexy, no one would have a problem with it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    First it was bash the smokers, then it was the drinkers and now its the 'fatties'. Who next? BMI is not a good test - neither is an average tape measurement, How long before there is an article from one of the drug companies promoting a new pill to solve this problem? Just because someone chooses to look/act differently then that is THEIR responsibility not the BMA/Government. Just stop this!

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    Might there be a link between the larger quantities of enhanced corn syrup, trans fats, steroids in beef, antibiotics in poultry, genetically modified foodstuffs and increasing overweight?

    Even Weight-Watcher ready meals have hydrogenated fats.

    Sorry, let's not complicate a smug rant. BTW, I am not obese, just an overweight sexagenarian who cycles to work daily.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    I think we should follow Germany's example. There women are all stunningly beautiful and do not carry an ounce of extra weight.
    They also have the best industry, schools, citizen behavior and political leader.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    @ 102. Linda

    No exercise "burns fat", it simply uses more calories to jog or run than sit down, in the same way a car uses more fuel to go at 70mph than 20mph. This helps to create a calorie deficit when combined with eating below or at your Basal Metabolic Rate, if you eat over this then you can still gain or retain bodyfat.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Stigmatising doesn't help, its just a lazy kind of hate!
    "Obese", "smoker", "drinker" or "drug user" probably cover most who have left a comment.You know what? The medics don't know everything.Sort out why people over-consume and stop condemning them.The docs medicalise everything so their friends in the Pharma and Food industries can make mega bucks out of YOU via the National Health Service.


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