(HealthDay News) – Waist circumference (WC) is independently associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes, and the association is particularly strong for women.

To determine whether WC can predict the risk of type 2 diabetes, Claudia Langenberg, MD, PhD, of Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, UK, and colleagues in the InterAct Consortium conducted a prospective, case-cohort, multicenter, European study. The study included 12,403 incident cases of type 2 diabetes and 16,154 cohort participants from a total of 340,234 participants with 3.99 million person-years of follow-up.

The researchers found that both WC and body mass index (BMI) were independently associated with type 2 diabetes risk, with WC being a stronger risk factor for women. Men and women with grade 2 obesity (BMI, ≥35kg/m²) and a high WC (>102/88cm for men/women) had a hazard ratio of 22.0 and 31.8 for type 2 diabetes, respectively, compared to normal-weight individuals (BMI, 18.5–22.4kg/m²) with a low WC (<94/80cm for men/women). A subgroup of overweight people with a high WC were found to have a 10-year cumulative incidence of type 2 diabetes comparable to that of the obese group.

“WC is independently and strongly associated with type 2 diabetes, particularly in women, and should be more widely measured for risk stratification,” the authors write. “If targeted measurement is necessary for reasons of resource scarcity, measuring WC in overweight individuals may be an effective strategy, since it identifies a high-risk subgroup of individuals who could benefit from individualized preventive action.”

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