A man's waist size seems to be a stronger indicator of diabetes risk than the body mass index, new research suggests.
Johns Hopkins scientists reviewed data from 27,270 men tracked over 13 years and put them into five groups according to their waist size; 884 of the men had diabetes.
Compared with those in the group with the smallest waists, 29 to 34 inches, men with larger waist sizes were at least twice as likely to have diabetes. Those with the largest waist size -- 40 inches and above -- were up to 12 times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes, the kind associated with obesity. When the men were divided into groups based on their body mass index -- a formula based on weight and height -- or waist-hip ratio, the level of risk wasn't as pronounced.
The study's lead author, Youfa Wang, an assistant professor with the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said waist size could indicate a strong risk for diabetes whether a man's BMI indicates that he's overweight or obese.
Alan Cherrington, president of the American Diabetes Assn., said the results supported previous research that has found waistline fat "is worse for you than other kinds of fat."