Waist Size Predicts Mortality

By Ryan Halvorson
May 20, 2014

Body mass index is often used to determine health status and disease development potential. However, researchers from the Mayo Clinic have discovered that waist size can be a significant predictor of future problems—even among people in healthy BMI ranges.

The scientists culled data from 11 studies that included 650,386 white adults aged 20–83. At a 9-year follow-up, 78,268 participants had died.

“After accounting for age, study, BMI, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and physical activity, a strong positive linear association of waist circumference with all-cause mortality was observed for men and women,” the authors reported.

The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2014; 89 [3], 335–45), also stated that life expectancy decreased by 3 years and 5 years, respectively, among men and women with the largest waist circumferences.

“In white adults, higher waist circumference was positively associated with higher mortality at all levels of BMI. . . . Waist circumference should be assessed in combination with BMI, even for those in the normal BMI range, as part of risk assessment for obesity-related premature mortality.”


Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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