Much to my chagrin, it seems like every health problem we women have comes back to our Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us know that our weight and BMI impacts our health. What we may not realize is that where we carry our weight is also a risk factor in developing cardiovascular disease.
If we carry our weight in our waist versus hips or thighs, we’re at a greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease. And ladies, this is not the worst part. Waist circumference is a risk factor even if your BMI falls within the normal range!
This news was a real bummer! I say this because while I am a “little” overweight. Despite that, I always enjoyed a relatively flat stomach until menopause hit with a vengeance and my shape changed from a nice little “pear” to a fat round “apple” seemingly overnight. This news only added another card to the cardiovascular risk factor disease hand that I’m playing out. It’s one more risk factor to be addressed and I don’t like it!
How Round is Too Round?
So, how “round” is too “round?” Just what is a healthy waist measurement? The answer depends on your age, gender and ethnicity. The numbers are as follows:
1. Woman of European, Caucasian, African, Eastern Mediterranean, or of Middle Eastern descent: You are at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease if your waist measurement is more than 35 inches. (The magic number for men is 40 inches.)
2. Woman of South Asian, Malaysian, Asian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Ethnic South or Center American descent: You are at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease if your waist measurement is more than 32 inches. (For men, the number is 35 inches.)
(Note: The Heart and Stroke Foundation has an excellent video of how to properly measure your waist. Links are below under sources.)
I fall into group “1” above. I’m sorry to say that my “apple” is more than 35 inches. This is a risk factor for me and I have some work to do.