A large waist circumference may be a warning sign of high blood pressure.
Men with a waistline of more than 102cm and women with a waistline of more than 80cm are candidates for hypertension, the forerunner of heart attack, heart failure and stroke, according to new study of 1,858 adults by the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

The researchers, who obtained measurements of the blood pressure, height, weight, waist and arm circumference both at the beginning and expiration of the study, found that women were significantly older, shorter, and heavier and had greater arm circumference and heart rates when compared with males. They reasoned that increased waist line circumference was associated with higher risk of hypertension and diabetes, which was independent of the body mass index ― the measure of body fat based on height and weight in adult men and women.

From their findings and several other studies, they suggest that when individuals reduce their waist circumference, their high blood pressure levels will drop as will their risk of developing other diseases.

“People with wide waistlines or pot bellies, irrespective of their gender, have a higher risk of developing diseases such as stroke, heart disease and heart attack,” said Dr. Abiodun Adeoye, a consultant cardiologist at UCH.

Dr. Adeoye added that a person may not think of themselves as obese, but a big waistline means abdominal obesity ― a risk factor for heart disease. According to this study, “big” is a waistline of over 102cm for men and over 80cm for women. He recommends that those who meet these measurements eat less and exercise. “People should realise that they must work on their tummy, not only for beauty purposes, but also to prevent cardiovascular incidences such as hypertension, heart problem and stroke,” he advised.

Waistline measurements can also help determine the presence of cardiometabolic risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Bottom line, take note the next time your favourite jeans no longer fit.

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