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 193.


    I can't imagine why they don't like you; you seem to be such a lovely human being.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    Note to All - BMI use is useless, as any sportsman/woman will immediately be classed "obese" and has no flexability or additional rules to make it actually useful. But the debate here is on Waist sizes!
    In this respect, suddenly this group, and many more come back into line so is a lot more useful than BMI.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    I'm 45, 4 kids and 1 grandchild with a waistline of 28ins. No diets, I just walk a lot, ride my bike at weekends, go to work and spend time with my kids and grandson. . . . . . . . . .Everything in moderation is the key

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    As a bloke I feel that its time that bmi and statistics are chucked away. noone is the same so to try and cram everyone into statistics and ratios so that we are all the same is ridiculous. My sons fiancee has the same waste measurement as hips. She is stick like and runs daily.... statistics, damn lies and statistics. another report that has cost us money, like so many others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    The current global population is eating for an extra 1 Billion people, shocking but accurate. We need to raise awareness about the benefits of being healthy. I think we will find most of the current global problems will be resolved with a healthier population. Argument for GM crops ' we wont be able to feed everyone' in 20 years. Worrying the question of whether we will eat less is'nt considered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    A point to start would be all the advertising slogans. Why do they call obese women "curvy, voluptuous, real women" instead of saying, look you are overweight and unhealthy? Why does Ann Summers want to use size 16 models? To say you can be overweight and sexy? "Fashion for real men, up to a size 5XL"?? That's obese! "I'd rather be playing bingo" instead of exercising! There you go then!

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    A woman's daily struggle is trying to balance their love for food without getting fat. Evidently, most are unsuccessful!

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    I had a hysterctomy at 36, being around 10 stone up until then, instantly put on nearly 3 stone and then got put on HRT for another 4 plus stone and now I can't get rid. I have tried a personal trainer, everything I could do, but my doctor says nothing will shift it as it is not food. I haven't changed what I eat. It's only my waist that is fat, not my face, arms, legs, etc. Pink Bunny is right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    How did they conduct this intricate research? Did they open their eyes on the high street in any UK town for longer than 3 seconds? Why pick on the ladies? BMI is a nonsense, surely we all know that by now. Who are these Nuffield nobodies?

  • Comment number 184.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Tax fast food. When you can buy a burger and fries for less than £2, But if made the effort could cook a much healthier meal for far less. Plus you'd be active not passively waiting for your food. Put the minimum cost of McD's, KFC, BK etc to £5, maybe people will start to cook rather than eat cheap unhealthy takeaways.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    BBC are lucky they are still getting a licence fee from me judging by the articles over the last year.
    Whats the point of writing laws to protect people to allow them to have freedom of choice and speech, then constantly slander those people who choose to exercise their rights because it doesn't match the govt's idealism? I'm not fat, but apparently I'm "clinically obese" according to BMI scale.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    I knew before this article that a waist larger than hips was very very unhealthy so why doesnt everyone else know it.? It was a message to men who look pregnant and yes, 2 men that I know, had thrombosis. They both survived but only one of them has reduced his waist size- just giving up alcohol.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    @averagejoe: Bashing fat people is just a way for the weaker bullies to get their fix. The mid-level bullies go for the sick and disabled, and the real toughies go for classical sex and race-related bigotry.

    Sadists don't want to fix a problem. They're not interested in evidence-based solutions. They'd rather billions wasted on cure than millions on prevention.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    139 in plain sight
    quite correct but with the added weight you need more fuel (food) for the same mileage so the car(body) gets heavier and heavier, ad infinitum.
    Exersize does not help much as it just makes you hungry and thirsty.
    Only way to lose weight is to stop eating and drinking so much.
    Not as easy as it sounds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Just look on dating sites: most women are describing themselves as 'BBW' and 'comfortable with their size'. Yet, have these women wondered why they're even on a dating site in the first place? It's true most men don't want stick-thin girlfriends, but we don't want fat ones either!

  • 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 175.

    I was a standard size 10 occasionally 12 my whole adult life and then I had my 50th Birthday and pow were did that tummy come from why am I having to buy elasticated waist. My life style had not changed in fact we now had a dog and I was walking more! I am now a size 16-18 not happy about it but have tried just about everything -slimming world, weight watchers to no avail -still overweight!

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    If in doubt, ladies, remember this mantra:

    'Fridge pickers wear big knickers'.

    No drop and give me twenty!


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