Is your waist size telling you something?

Find out how your waist size can be a predictor of your health.

When was the last time you measured your waist? According to Harvard School of Public Health, waist size could be an indicator of many health conditions.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized as having a large waist, low good cholesterol (HDL), high glucose (sugar), high triglycerides and high blood pressure – often occurring together. Currently, this syndrome affects one in four adult Americans. If you have three of the characteristics of the metabolic syndrome, then you may have it. This increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Multiple studies have found that women and men with a waist size of 35 and 40 or more inches, respectively, had higher risks and, in some studies their risk doubled, of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So why is abdominal fat a stronger indicator than other fats in our bodies? It’s because the fat surrounding our abdominal organs like the liver, is very metabolically active. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, this fat “releases fatty acids, inflammatory agents, and hormones” that can lead to the metabolic syndrome characteristics such as higher bad cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, blood glucose and blood pressure.

To measure your waist accurately, the National Institute of Health guidelines recommends you “place a tape measure snugly around your bare abdomen just above your hip bone, exhale, and then take the measurement.”

So what can you do to keep your waist size under control this holiday season? Follow Michigan State University Extension’s recommendations on how to eat healthy during the holiday season.

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