A letter published in JAMA last week...
Trends in Mean Waist Circumference And Abdominal Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2012, Journal of the American Medical Association, 17 September 2014
...Analyzed data from 32,816 men and women over the age of 20, and found:
- Average waist circumference increased from 37.6 to 38.8 inches
- Average waist circumference for men is now 40 inches
- Average waist circumference for women is now 38 inches
- Average increase in men was 0.8 inches, women 1.5 inches
- Abdominal obesity (belly fat) increased from 46.4% of the population in 1999-2000 to 54.2% in 2011-2012
The researchers wrote:
"The reasons for increases in waist circumference in excess of what would be expected from changes in BMI remain speculative, but several factors, including sleep deprivation, endocrine disrupters, and certain medications, have been proposed as potential explanations," they write.
Carrying too much fat around the middle (waist) can increase the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
I think they're right in the reasons they give ... for why midsections are increasing but weight is not. People say we don't exercise enough; that's why we're getting soft around the middle. It's more than that. Inadequate sleep certainly plays a role. But the real culprit, in my eyes, is endocrine disruptors. We're being exposed to these chemicals like never before. And belly fat, or visceral obesity, is a known side effect.
Waistlines 'Grow An Inch In A Decade' In US, BBC
Animal Fat Is A Natural Reservoir For Environmental Pollutants
Public Health Concern Behind The Exposure To Persistent Organic Pollutants And The Risk Of Metabolic Diseases, BMC Public Health, April 2012