Could a simple measurement of your waistline determine your life expectancy? A new mass calculation of 300,000 adults over 20 years claims yes.
A new study finds a correlation between your waistline and how long you can expect to live, claiming to be more accurate than BMI or Body Mass Index.
The researchers at Cass Business School at City University, London, came up with the calculation after looking at records of more than 300,000 adults spanning 20 years. Dr Margaret Ashwell said it should be used as a simple health check that anyone can do at home.
She added that waist circumference is important because it shows the amount of central fat in the body which is linked to high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. She also believes the waist-to-height ratio is a far more reliable predictor of ill health and obesity than the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is widely used by doctors.
As long as this is half your height or less, you should live to the average life expectancy which is currently around 81. But for every few inches over, you face losing months or even years of life.
For example, an average 30-year-old man who is 5ft 10in tall or 70 inches should have a waist size no bigger than 35 inches. A 30-year-old 5ft 4in woman should have a waist size of 32 inches or under.
A 30-year-old man of 5ft 10in with a 56-inch waist can expect to lose 20.2 years from his life expectancy. Similarly a woman with a 51-inch waist will die 10.6 years earlier.