Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Waist Size Predicts Diabetes Risk

Men Should Aim for Waist Size of 37 Inches or Less, Researchers Say
WebMD Health News

March 10, 2005 - A man's waist size may say much more about his risk of developing type 2 diabetes than previously thought.

A new study suggests that a man's waist size is a better indicator of type 2 diabetes risk than other currently used measures, such as waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index (BMI, a measure of weight in relation to height).

Doctors use these measures to estimate a patient's risk of developing type 2 diabetes and advise them how to lower their risk, such as by losing weight and changing their diet.

Current cutoffs say that men should have a waist size of less than 40 inches to help prevent diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

But researchers say the cutoff for a man's waist size may need to be lowered to 37 inches. At that waist size researchers accurately identified more than 80% of the type 2 diabetes cases that developed in a large group of men followed over 13 years.

Waistline Reveals Diabetes Risk

In the study, researchers compared the effectiveness of BMI, waist size, and waist-to-hip ratio in predicting the risk of type 2 diabetes in more than 27,000 men. Results appear in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

All of the men had their BMI, waist size, and waist-to-hip measurements taken when the study began and were then followed for 13 years.

Men who had a waist size of 40 inches or more had the highest risk of type 2 diabetes. These men were 12 times more likely to develop the disease than those with a waist size of 34 inches or less.

Men with a BMI of 25 or more also were significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Researchers say the results suggest that currently recommended cutoffs for estimating type 2 diabetes risk be lowered. Currently those cutoffs are 25 for BMI and 40 inches for a man's waist size.

But the study shows that lower cutoffs identified a significantly greater proportion of the type 2 diabetes cases.

Type 2 diabetes risk rose progressively as waist size climbed above 34 inches:

  • A waist size of 34 to 36 doubled diabetes risk.
  • A waist size of 36 to 38 inches nearly tripled the risk.
  • A waist size of 38 to 40 inches was associated with five times the risk.
  • A waist size of 40 to 62 inches was associated with 12 times the risk.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner