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Brits underestimate waistbands

26th February 2008

A study by the University of Leicester has shown that people living in Britain tend to underestimate the size of their waists.

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This lack of recognition has caused concern amongst diabetes charities, who warned that people could fail to link an increased waist size with the danger of developing type 2 diabetes.

Eight in ten people who are diagnosed with diabetes weigh too much. It is thought that three-quarters of a million people in the UK are living with the condition but are unaware they have it.

The study spoke to 502 subjects and asked them to give an estimate of their waist measurement.

The research showed that male subjects miscalculated the dimensions of their waists by 3.1 inches (7.9cm) on average, and female subjects by 2.2 inches (5.5cm) on average.

The charity Diabetes UK has published information which explains that a measurement of over 31.5 inches for women, 37 inches for white men and black men, and 35 inches for South Asian men, can put people in danger of developing the disease.

Douglas Smallwood, of the charity, said: "To believe that you are more than three inches slimmer than you are is to ignore a clear warning of a risk of diabetes."

Lead researcher Professor Kamlesh Khunti stated that people suffering from the condition may not be diagnosed for "up to 12 years."

He said: "This research shows that people need to be educated about the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and about accurately assessing their waist circumference."


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