Abdominal Obesity Continues To Increase, Particularly in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 
Earl S. Ford, MD, MPH
Medical officer, U.S Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA 30341

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Ford:  The main finding of the study is that mean waist circumference and the prevalence of abdominal obesity in US adults have increased since 1999-2000 and that these increases are being driven primarily by trends in women. Mean waist circumference and the percentage of abdominal obesity in men has been relatively stable since 2003-2004.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Ford:  The steady increase in mean waist circumference in women was unanticipated.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Ford:  In light of our study’s finding that waistlines are still expanding, particularly in women, clinicians should consider measuring waist circumference to evaluate abdominal obesity in their patients. In addition to their weight, patients should also keep track of their waist circumference. Expanding waistlines, even in the presence of stable weight, should cause patients to evaluate their lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity/sedentary behavior and diet and possibly consult their physicians.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Ford:  Continued monitoring of trends in mean waist circumference and the prevalence of abdominal obesity should be conducted. Possible drivers for the gender divergence in the trend patterns in waist circumference warrant examination.


Trends in Mean Waist Circumference and Abdominal Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2012
Earl S. Ford MD, MPH, Leah M. Maynard PhD, Chaoyang Li MD, PhD
JAMA. 2014;312(11):1151-1153. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.8362

Last Updated on September 16, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD