Friday, 24 May 2013

How do you measure up?

By Tracy Kelly

It worries me that only a third of people in the UK know that having a large waist increases their chances of getting type 2 diabetes. But just how many of us actually know what a ‘large waist’ even means?
Well, it’s 31in (80cm) for women and over 37in (94cm) for men – and, believe me, that isn’t actually that big.

I couldn’t remember what my waist measurement was so I decided to practise what I preach and, after a lot of searching round the house, finally found my tape measure. Not many people know how to accurately measure their waist. But it’s really not that difficult. Just find the bottom rib and your hip - your waist is in middle of these two points.  Take the measurement (at this point) when you breathe out and your stomach is relaxed. Be honest with yourself, which means not pulling the tape measure too tight in an attempt to shave off a few centimetres!
Measuring my waist was actually quick and easy and now I know what my waist size actually is. I challenge you to do the same.
Why, you may ask. Because if you don’t know something is a problem, you can’t do anything about it. If your waist is large, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer by losing weight and making simple lifestyle changes. Go on, find the tape measure lurking at the back of your drawers and give it a go.

Other things that increase your risk of type 2 diabetes include being over 40 years old; being from a South Asian or black ethnic background; having a strong family history (brother, sister or parent) with diabetes, having polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes or having given birth to a baby over 10lb. 

Of course, if you already have type 2 diabetes, getting to grips with your weight could really help you when it comes to managing the condition and keeping you healthy in the future, too.

HFG expert Tracy is a clinical advisor for Diabetes UK.
To find out if you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, visit Diabetes UK


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