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Circling back to the discussion of abdominal adiposity, data regarding waist circumference and diabetes illustrate its health impact. These are age-adjusted data from the Nursesí Health Study, analyzing responses from 43,581 subjects who provided information on weight and body measurements in 1986. These subjects had no history of cancer, heart disease, stroke, or any type of diabetes. An 8-year follow-up in this population showed a strong positive association between waist circumference and the incidence of diabetes. At the far end of the spectrum, women with a waist circumference >38 inches had a diabetes risk of 22.4, relative to women in the normal waist circumference range of <28 inches. Other obesity measures studied included body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio; both of these were also found to be independent determinants of type 2 diabetes in this population. The sharpest risk gradient was documented with waist circumference, indicating that it is a powerful independent predictor of type 2 diabetes in women.
(WC was measured at the high point of the iliac crest at minimal respiration to the nearest 0.1 cm.)

Carey VJ, Walters EE, Colditz GA, et al. Body fat distribution and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women: the Nursesí Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1997;145:614-619.