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Study Shows Women's Waists Have Increased Over Past 12 Years

June 22, 2015 2 min read

It isn't much of a secret that over the last few decades, the majority of us have been getting larger. New research looks at just how much they've grown in recent years and much to our surprise, it may not have anything to do with body mass index. The study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked into the waist measurements of men and women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2012. The researchers also looked at their BMIs. After comparing the data, it was found that on average, women's waistlines grew about 1.5 inches during the course of the study while men's only expanded 0.75 inches. Women under 40 also tended to see the greatest increase in waist size. Men's BMIs increased by 0.7 and women's only went up by 0.6 so why such a big difference in waist measurements? Unfortunately, the researchers don't really know. The authors did point out, however, that in the past research attributed larger midsections to other less obvious factors like stress, depression, some medications, lack of sleep and yo-yo dieting. This might explain why your pants fit a little tighter even though you haven't really put on much weight but the researchers have pointed out that their results have some limitations. They noted that measuring waistlines can be challenging and may have impacted the results. On top of that, 3 percent of participants in the NHANES did not have waist circumference data and so could not be included in the study. There needs to be more research done to confirm these results and explain why this is happening but the researchers have suggested that the results they did find suggest that measuring a woman's BMI might not give a clear picture of her weight. Not that we didn't know that part already...    

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