24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Even When Undergoing Treatment, People With MS Gain From COVID VaccinesNIH Spending Nearly $470 Million on Long-Haul COVID StudyHospitalizing the Unvaccinated Has Cost U.S. Nearly $6 BillionIn 16 States, 35% or More Residents Now Obese: CDCPet Store Puppies Passing Drug-Resistant Bacteria to PeopleIs a Combo COVID/Flu Shot on the Way?1 in 500 Americans Has Died From COVID-19Having Even a Cousin or Grandparent With Colon Cancer Raises Your Risk: StudyBlood Cancer Patients Could Benefit From COVID Booster Shot: StudyWHO Says Africa Will Get 30% of COVID Vaccines It Needs by FebruaryCOVID Vaccines for Kids Under 12 Could Come This Fall: FauciEbola Vaccine Effective in African Clinical TrialBritain OK's COVID Vaccine for Kids 12 and Older; Hopes to Avoid LockdownsIsraeli Data on COVID Boosters to Be Published This Week in Major JournalData Doesn't Support Need for COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters: ExpertsCOVAX Cuts Global COVID Vaccine Supply Estimates By a QuarterMonth-Long Recovery From Concussion Is Normal: StudyDeath From COVID 11 Times More Likely If You're Unvaccinated: StudyL.A. Is First Major School District to Mandate Vaccines for Students 12 and UpNew Tally Adds Extra 16,000 U.S. Nursing Home Residents Lost to COVIDBlack Americans, Mexican Americans Develop Diabetes Earlier in LifeAverage COVID Hospitalization Is 150 Times More Expensive Than VaccinationGetting Your First COVID Shot Can Boost Mental Health: StudyVaccinated Have 1 in 13,000 Chance of Breakthrough Case Needing HospitalizationBiden Issues Tough New Vaccine Mandates Affecting Millions of U.S. WorkersTime Is Brain: Mobile Stroke Units Reduce Disability, Study FindsWildfires Cause More Than 33,000 Deaths Globally Each YearIs Your Workplace an Asthma Trigger?Biden to Strengthen Push for Vaccine Mandates in New COVID PlanAHA News: How a Simple Tape Measure May Help Predict Diabetes in Black AdultsEczema Can Take Toll on Child's Mental HealthNo Lasting Damage to Lungs After COVID in Young Patients: StudyAdults With Autism, Mental Illness May Be at Higher Risk for Severe COVIDIn Cancer Patients, COVID Vaccine Immunity at 6 Months Is Similar to General PopulationNew Insights Into Why Asthma Worsens at NightHere's How COVID-19 Can Affect Your MouthPet Dogs Can Alert Owners to Epileptic SeizuresU.S. COVID-19 Cases Now Top 40 MillionWhy Aren't COVID Vaccines Getting to People Globally?Which Cancer Patients Need a COVID Booster Shot Most?Few U.S. Workers Know About COVID Sick Leave ProtectionsTherapeutic Brain Implant Won't Alter Personality in Epilepsy Patients: StudyRising Ragweed Levels Mean Fall Allergy Season Is NearVaping Raises Blood Clotting Risks, Harms Small Arteries: StudyMore Than 230 Medical Journals Issue Joint Statement on Health Dangers of Global WarmingAHA News: Clues to Brain Health May Lie in the GutNew COVID Cases Were 300% Higher This Labor Day Weekend Than Last YearWeight Loss Can Help Cut Lung Risks in 9/11 First RespondersHen Hazard: Salmonella a Threat From Backyard ChickensMajor Study Finds No Serious Health Issues From Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics


AHA News: How a Simple Tape Measure May Help Predict Diabetes in Black Adults

HealthDay News
by American Heart Association News
Updated: Sep 8th 2021

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Measuring waist circumference may be an essential way to help predict who will develop diabetes among Black people with normal blood sugar levels, according to a new study. The problem is, researchers say, waist size often is overlooked at health visits.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, focused on how to best determine the risk of diabetes in Black populations. The condition causes blood sugar to rise and can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

About 1 in 10 people in the U.S. have diabetes, but the numbers are higher for Black men (14.7%) and Black women (13.4%), American Heart Association statistics show. According to federal data, Black people are twice as likely as their white counterparts to die of diabetes and three times as likely to end up hospitalized for uncontrolled diabetes.

Researchers looked at nearly 4,000 Black adults without diabetes who had their waist circumference and body mass index measured and received different types of blood and imaging tests to assess body fat. Participants had either normal blood sugar levels or prediabetes, a serious condition when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to qualify as diabetes.

After about five years, the study found a simple A1C blood test was the best marker for predicting future diabetes in those who had prediabetes. The test measures average blood sugar levels over the past three months.

However, for participants with normal blood sugar, the researchers found it was better to measure waist circumference as well as liver fat and visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat that surrounds abdominal organs deep inside your body.

Measuring visceral and liver fat can be complicated and costly, but measuring waist circumference is simple and inexpensive, said the study's lead author Dr. Joshua J. Joseph.

"All you need is a good old-fashioned tape measure," said Joseph, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

"Waist circumference measurement has fallen off in recent years during office visits. Our (study) is a big reminder about the importance of actually doing that, and considering waist circumference alone, as well in the context of other conditions" such as obesity, he said.

About 55% of Black women and 38% of Black men have obesity, AHA statistics show. Since obesity is a key driver of diabetes, Joseph said it's important to maintain a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet and be physically active.

But making and sustaining those changes isn't easy, Joseph acknowledged. "The bigger question is how do you get these individuals into programming that will actually help them improve their waist circumference and improve their life?"

Possible solutions, Joseph said, are for doctors to prescribe physical activity courses and training for their patients, and encourage them to enroll in nutritious cooking classes and take part in community gardens.

"We also need to address barriers that cut across all racial and ethnic groups. If you don't have a sidewalk in your community, it's much tougher to go outside and take a long walk," he said.

"To make sure everyone can lead longer, healthier lives, we have to work intensively as academic, corporate and government institutions, along with community stakeholders, to really address these social determinants of health."

Dr. Michelle Kelsey, who was not involved in the research, said the study was limited by its focus on Black adults in Mississippi. "The results may not be generalizable to all African Americans," she said.

In addition, she said, although everyone in the study had their waist size and BMI measured, not everyone received the same blood and imaging tests.

Still, Kelsey called the study "an important paper that helps us better understand who is likely to develop diabetes. If we can identify people at high risk earlier, we can intervene earlier to improve exercise and dietary habits, so those individuals don't go on to develop diabetes and all of its complications."

Kelsey, a cardiology fellow and researcher at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, said while it's still important to measure a person's BMI, the study is a reminder that not all body fat is created equal.

"We know that some of the markers of increased visceral (belly) fat are associated with development of diabetes," she said. "Waist circumference may tell us more about someone's risk for diabetes in the future than body mass index on its own."

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email editor@heart.org.

By Thor Christensen