Public Health England advises that a large waist measurement is a better indicator of type 2 diabetes risk than BMI.
Men with a waist measurement above 40 inches (102 cm) have a 5 times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than men with a waist size under 37 inches (94cm). For women, a waist size of over 35 inches (88 cm) indicates a 3 times higher risk of diabetes than those with a waist size less than 31.5 inches (80 cm).
Insulin resistance, a state in which the body becomes less able to adequately respond to the hormone insulin, is the key driver towards developing type 2 diabetes. Research indicates that insulin resistance develops following accumulation of fat around the central organs such as the liver, stomach and pancreas. Development of fat around the waist, the appearance of a ‘spare tyre’, is a good indication that fat may be gathering around the abdominal organs.
Chief nutritionist at Public Health England, Alison Tedstone, points out that there is a growing trend of being overweight not being recognised as a health issue: “[Being] overweight has become normalised and many people no longer realise they are potentially endangering their health.”
The process of losing weight for people at increased risk of diabetes as a result of a larger waist is largely the same as the lifestyle changes recommended for treating type 2 diabetes, that is exercising on a regular basis, adhering to a lower calorie diet – you may consider adopting a low carbohydrate diet, and cutting down on alcohol intake.

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