Midlife belly bulge and excessive weight may increase your chances of becoming frail in old age, according to a new study, published January 23 in BMJ Open. Scientists in Norway looked at data from about 4,500 people age 45 or older at the study’s start for an average of 21 years, and discovered that individuals who had a high waist circumference measurement at the beginning were twice as likely to be frail or pre-frail (meaning at high risk of becoming frail) than people who started out with a normal waist size.
What Is Frailty and Pre-Frailty? For this study, researchers defined frailty according to a commonly used assessment scale that establishes a “frail” person as having at least three of the following five criteria:
- Weak grip strength
- Slow walking speed
- Low physical activity levels
- Unintentional weight loss
A person who is pre-frail has one or two of these characteristics.
A Larger Waistline May Increase the Risk of Frailty: Using standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), the researchers defined a “normal” waist circumference as about 37 inches or less for men and about 31 inches or less for women. A moderately large waist was defined as roughly 37 to 40 inches for men and 32 to 35 inches for women. High waist circumference was anything above those figures.
Excerpted from Everyday Health