Size of waist not better at predicting risk of diabetes than BMI in adolescents

Tue, 23 Aug 2011
A new study by scientists in the United States has found that the circumference of the waist is not a better predictor than body mass index (BMI) for pinpointing which children are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

With an increasing amount of research going into identifying children at a high risk of diabetes, especially the type 2 version, the findings are timely. BMI is currently used as a predictor by most organisations, but some experts have suggested that waist size and fat around the belly would be a better measure of risk.

However, the investigation into BMI, waist circumference, fasting glucose and levels of insulin, which involved a sample of over 1,500 adolescents in the US, showed that nearly 12 per cent of those assessed had insulin resistance and that BMI and waist circumference had about the same ability to identify children with insulin resistance, a common risk factor for diabetes. The research was carried out at the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Joyce M. Lee, who led the study, commented "There is increasing interest in measuring waist circumference in children to assess for chronic disease risk."

She added "Providers may be unsure of whether they should be measuring body mass index, weight circumference or both to determine those risks."
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