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Size does matter - and men still get it wrong...

Vain British men perceive themselves to be more than three inches slimmer than they really are and are ignoring a warning sign for diabetes.

In a study being presented next week to Diabetes UK’s Annual Professional Conference (APC) in Glasgow, attended by over 3,000 healthcare professionals, more than 500 men and women were asked to estimate their waist size.  Most under-estimated by an average of 2.7 inches.

Men were the most deluded and underestimated their waist size by a significant 3.1 inches (7.9 cm), whilst the estimates of South Asian women were generally the most accurate.

Risk factor for Type 2 diabetes

Having a large waist is one of the main risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, heart disease, stroke, amputation and kidney disease.

80 per cent of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight at the time of diagnosis.

Measure Up

Diabetes UK is encouraging people to measure their waist as a way of seeing if they could be at risk of developing the condition. 

The study, conducted by researchers from Leicester University, looked at 502 people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Women in general got their waist measurements wrong by 2.2 inches (5.5cm). People from white European backgrounds were worse than people from South Asian backgrounds when estimating measurements, with an average 2.9inches (7.4cm) error compared to 1.6 inches (4.1cm) for South Asians.

“Measuring up is a reality check, the first step to recognising that you may not be as well as you feel," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

"To believe that you are more than three inches slimmer than you are is to ignore a clear warning of a risk of diabetes.

"It can take years for symptoms of diabetes to emerge so simple indicators like waist size are important signals. There are up to 750,000 people in this country who have Type 2 diabetes but are not yet diagnosed.”

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