The higher prevalence of diabetes found among adult Americans compared to their peers in England can be primarily put down to their larger waist size, a new study has found.
The research, carried out by the RAND Corporatio, University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London, provides further evidence that accumulating fat around the mid-section poses a significant health risk and recommends that the study of diabetes risk should focus on waist size as well as traditional risk factors .
They could find no association between higher rate of diabetes in the US based upon conventional risk factors such as age, smoking, socio-economic background or body mass index (BMI), the commonly used ratio for measuring weight .
It was found that middle-aged and older Americans are more likely to suffer from diabetes compared to their counterparts in England despite a similar standard of living. Around 16 per cent of American men are reported to suffer from diabetes as compared to 11 per cent of English men, and around 14 per cent of American women have diabetes, as compared to 7 per cent among English women. American men had waists that averaged 3 centimetres larger than English men, while the waists of American women were 5 centimetres larger than that of English women.
One of the authors of the study, James P. Smith, said “Americans carry more fat around their middle sections than the English, and that was the single factor that explained most of the higher rate of diabetes seen in the United States, especially among American women. Waist size is the missing new risk factor we should be studying.”

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