- A large waist increases risk of heart disease, breathing problems and cancer
- Men with waists above 43ins have about a three year lower life expectancy
- Women with waists above 37ins have about a five year lower life expectancy
Having a large waist can knock years off your life – even if your body mass index is healthy, scientists have warned.
A study found that men and women with large waist circumferences are more likely to die young than those with small waists.
They were also more likely to die from illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and cancer after accounting for body mass index, smoking, alcohol use and physical activity.
The researchers, from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, pooled data from 11 different studies, including more than 600,000 people from around the world.
They found men with waists 43ins or greater in circumference had a 50 per cent higher mortality rate than men with waists less than 35ins.
This translated to about a three year lower life expectancy after the age of 40.
Women with a waist circumference of 37ins or greater had about an 80 per cent higher risk of early death than those with a waist circumference of 27ins or less.
After the age of 40, this took around five years off life expectancy.