Health Buzz: Waist Size Predicts Diabetes Risk

Safe weight-loss tips for wedding season; this may be why you have trouble trying to conceive


Waist Size Signals Increased Risk of Diabetes

Measuring your waist circumference could help gauge your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Doctors have long used body mass index, a measurement of body fat based on height and weight, to determine patients' diabetes risk, but adding waist circumference makes those predictions more accurate, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine. While BMI doesn't make any distinction between different kinds of fat, waist circumference identifies visceral fat in the abdomen, which has the strongest link to diabetes. It's not affected by fat in the arms, thighs, or any other part of the body. The study authors found that, among women, diabetes risk was more closely associated with waist size than with BMI, HealthDay reports. The findings suggest that, if doctors paid more attention to waist size, they could refer high-risk patients to weight-loss and diabetes-prevention programs. 

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  • Safe Weight-Loss Tips for Wedding Season

    Over the years, brides-to-be have taken drastic measures to lose weight ahead of the Big Day: drinking a concoction of lemon juice, water, syrup, and cayenne pepper, wiring their mouths shut, and taking a pregnancy hormone while following the 500-calorie hCG diet.

    But a feeding tube? 

    Yes, indeed. News media were abuzz recently with stories of brides resorting to the K-E Diet, in which a feeding tube funnels a slow drip of 800 calories of protein, water, and fat—no carbs— from the nose, down the esophagus, and into a person's stomach each day for 10 days. The draw: Patients can lose up to 20 pounds, says Oliver Di Pietro, a Florida-based internal medicine physician who charges $1,500 for the plan. One bride, his patient, reportedly had the tube removed after eight days because she had already lost the weight she wanted. 

    Medical and nutrition professionals immediately responded. "Rapid weight loss increases the risk of heart arrhythmias, dehydration, and electrolyte disturbances," says Ethan Lazarus, a family doctor in Denver who specializes in obesity medicine. Shedding pounds this quickly, he says, makes it likely that you will lose more lean body mass and water than fat. This can slow metabolism and result in an instant regain of weight once you go off the diet. "You may gain more than you lost," says Lazarus. Other effects include shrunken fingers and feet and a drooping face—which can result in a loose wedding ring, flopping shoes, and a blushing bride with a dull expression, he says. And while the risk of inserting a feeding tube is small, Lazarus notes the possibility of lacerations in the sinuses (the tube goes down through the nose) and the esophagus, and some brides may experience vomiting and nausea. [Read more: Safe Weight-Loss Tips for Wedding Season]

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    • Trouble Trying to Conceive? This May Be Why

      Girl meets boy. Girl marries boy. Girl and boy have a baby. For many folks, this is how they envision their life will be—or at least some sort of semblance of these milestone events—but for a large number of people, this has become an unattainable reality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer from infertility, which is defined as the inability to get pregnant after six to 12 months of trying. And while a woman's increasing age is the most familiar reason for this condition—more and more women are waiting to have children—researchers are discovering that there are new and once-unconsidered factors at play. And men are not exempt from this pregnancy problem, as one-third of infertility issues stem from the male partner. Here are some of the latest findings and what doctors say you can do in response to them.

      1. Move in moderation and watch your weight. We all know that movement does the body good, but recent research suggests that too much of a good thing can be a hindrance. A study published in March in Fertility and Sterility revealed that normal-weight woman—those with a body mass index (BMI) under 25—who engaged in vigorous exercise like running, swimming, and aerobics for five or more hours a week were 42 percent less likely to get pregnant than women who did not exercise at all. "Very vigorous exercise can affect ovulation, and thereby disrupt menstrual cycles," says Jessica Scotchie, a reproductive endocrinologist practicing in Chattanooga, Tenn. "The pituitary gland interprets the strenuous exercise as meaning that this is not an optimal time to further stress the body with reproduction, and thus shuts down the signaling to the ovary to promote ovulation." Researchers also add that extreme exercise could affect implantation, a fertilized egg's ability to attach to the inside of the uterus. [Read more: Trouble Trying to Conceive? This May Be Why]