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Waist size a clue to men’s health

Medical guidelines recommend that men have their waist

Medical guidelines recommend that men have their waist measured at least once a year. Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Chad Zuber

A good way to evaluate if a man’s extra weight is a health risk, say experts, is to determine how much extra fat is around his middle.

“Visceral fat” accumulates around internal organs like the liver, pancreas and intestines, according to a recent article on this subject in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And when this type of fat builds up in the abdomen, it increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease, two major killers of men.

In general, the measurement around a man’s waist below the rib cage and above the hip bones (or across the belly button if you can’t find the other markers) should be below 40 inches, according to the National Institutes of Health Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Recent evidence, however, suggests that the exact measurement may not be as important as whether a man’s waist is expanding, shrinking, or staying the same over time. For this reason, guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association now recommend that men have their waist measured at least once a year and more often if they are overweight.

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