Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Large waist size linked to higher diabetes rates among Americans compared to English

Date:
October 7, 2010
Source:
RAND Corporation
Summary:
Providing more evidence about the risks of having a fat midsection, an international research team has found that a higher rate of diabetes seen among adult Americans when compared to peers in England is explained primarily by a larger waist size rather than conventional risk factors such as obesity.

A higher rate of diabetes seen among adult Americans when compared to peers in England is explained primarily by a larger waist size rather than conventional risk factors such as obesity, according to a new study by researchers from the RAND Corporation, University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London.

Related Articles


Researchers say the findings offer more evidence that accumulating fat around the mid-section poses a health risk and suggests that studies of diabetes risk should emphasize waist size along with traditional risk factors.

"Americans carry more fat around their middle sections than the English, and that was the single factor that explained most of the higher rate of diabetes seen in the United States, especially among American women," said James P. Smith, one of the study's author and corporate chair of economics at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Waist size is the missing new risk factor we should be studying."

Other authors of the study are James Banks of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and Meena Kumari and Paolo Zaninotto of the Department of Epidemiology at University College London. The findings were published online by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Researchers say that Americans middle-aged and older are significantly more likely to suffer from diabetes compared to their peers in England despite a similar standard of living. About 16 percent of American men report having diabetes as compared to 11 percent of English men. About 14 percent of American women have diabetes, compared to 7 percent among English women.

An earlier study co-authored by Banks and Smith demonstrated that middle-aged Americans are less healthy than their English counterparts, although medical spending in the United States is more than twice as high as it is in the United Kingdom.

Analyzing studies about the health and lifestyles of large numbers people from the United States and England, researchers found no association between higher diabetes rates in the United States based upon conventional risk factors such as age, smoking, socio-economic status or body mass index, the commonly used ratio of height and weight that is used to measure obesity and over-weight.

The conventional risk factors for diabetes were similar among both the American and English populations. Americans had slightly higher scores on body mass index and were a little older. The English were less educated and more likely to have smoked.

However, American men had waists that averaged 3 centimeters larger than their English peers and the waists of American women were 5 centimeters bigger than English women. American women were significantly more likely to face higher risk because of their waist size when compared to English women (69 percent to 56 percent), while American men had only a slightly higher waist risk than their English peers.

The higher waist size of Americans posed more risk compared to their English peers across most body mass index categories. For example, among women with normal weight, 41 percent of American women were categorized as having high waist risk compared to 9 percent of English women.

The study concludes that waist circumference explains a substantial proportion of the higher diabetes rate in America for men and virtually all the higher rate seen among women.

Researchers say there may be many reasons why Americans have larger waists than their English peers. It may be caused by different rates of physical activities through exercise or daily activities, diet differences or perhaps other social and environmental factors such as stress that occur in the United States.

Researchers say that future research needs to address the different mechanisms that may be responsible for this association. For example, there is evidence that fat in the midsection has a different metabolism than fat carried elsewhere on the torso.

Researchers say that past evidence has shown that waist circumference is a better marker for visceral fat than other measurements. Previous studies have shown that fat cells located in a person's midsection have specific dysfunction that may be involved in the mechanisms that lead to diabetes.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging and was conducted through the RAND Labor and Population program. The program examines issues involving U.S. labor markets, the demographics of families and children, social welfare policy, the social and economic functioning of the elderly, and economic and social change in developing countries.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RAND Corporation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Banks, M. Kumari, J. P. Smith, P. Zaninotto. What explains the American disadvantage in health compared with the English? the case of diabetes. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2010; DOI: 10.1136/jech.2010.108415

Cite This Page:

RAND Corporation. "Large waist size linked to higher diabetes rates among Americans compared to English." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007092710.htm>.
RAND Corporation. (2010, October 7). Large waist size linked to higher diabetes rates among Americans compared to English. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007092710.htm
RAND Corporation. "Large waist size linked to higher diabetes rates among Americans compared to English." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007092710.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins