Sept. 16, 2014 — The number of American men and women with big-bellied, apple-shaped figures — the most dangerous kind of obesity — has climbed at a startling rate over the past decade, according to a government study.
People whose fat has settled mostly around their waistlines instead of in their hips, thighs, buttocks or all over are known to run a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other obesity-related ailments.
Fully 54% percent of U.S. adults have abdominal obesity, up from 46% in 1999-2000, researchers reported in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waistline of more than 35 inches in women and more than 40 inches in men.
During the 12-year period studied, the average waist size in the U.S. expanded to 38 inches for women, a gain of 2 inches. It grew to 40 inches for men, a 1-inch increase. What it suggests is that even though the obesity rate may be stable, fat distribution may be changing. The study cites other possible reasons for the increase in belly fat, including sleep deprivation and certain medicines.