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Abdominal Obesity: Is this You?

Although average Body Mass Index (BMI) numbers have been holding somewhat steady in recent years, American waistlines continue to expand, which is bad news for our country's health. The latest look at these measurements focuses on the changes over time in abdominal obesity. This "belly fat" is closely associated with metabolic syndrome, and can indicate increased risks of diabetes and heart disease. The investigation reveals that since 1999, waistlines and belly fat have increased among men, women, whites, blacks and Mexican Americans. The researchers, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported that in 2012 abdominal obesity was present in 54.2 percent of us, up from 46.4 percent in 1999. (In men, a waist measurement greater than 40.2 inches signals abdominal obesity. For women, abdominal obesity is present at a waist measurement greater than 34.6 inches). The CDC team analyzed data from nearly 33,000 men and nonpregnant women age 20 and up to reach their conclusions. The biggest increases from 1999 to 2012 were among non-Hispanic white men in their 40s and among African Americans in their 30s. You might not notice an increase in your waist size if your scale says you haven't gained weight, and you're better off using a tape measure to keep track of where the fat resides.