Men's Waistlines Could Be Key to Health

40 inches put most men in risk zone for serious illnesses, experts say

MONDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Men can gain significant health benefits from watching their waist size and, if necessary, losing some flab around the middle, the American Dietetic Association says.

"Just as it's important to know your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight numbers, men need to know their waist circumference. So, get out the tape measure," registered dietitian and ADA spokesman Jim White said in an ADA news release.

For an average male, a waistline of 40 inches puts him into the "disease-risk zone," the experts warned.

Excess abdominal fat, as opposed to fat elsewhere on the body, increases men's risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. This fat around internal organs is known as visceral fat.

To correctly measure your waist size, wrap the tape measure over bare skin on your natural waistline, a little above the belly button at the narrowest part of your torso. Don't hold the tape measure too loose or too tight, White said.

"Eating better, decreasing stress levels, engaging in physical activity and getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep every day can help keep a man's midsection under control," registered dietitian and ADA spokesman Manuel Villacorta said in the news release.

Villacorta suggested reducing portion sizes, cutting back on alcohol and exercising regularly.

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers health tips for men.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: American Dietetic Association, news release, June 15, 2011

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