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Researchers Find a Link Between Waist Size and Anxiety

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and respiratory disorders. Women are more likely to suffer from anxiety, particularly in middle age. A recent study suggests that there may be an association between waist-to-height ratio and anxiety in women.


Waist-to-height ratio is a measure of abdominal fat. Generally, if a person’s waist measurement is more than half their height, they are considered obese.


Participants in the study included more than 5,580 Latin American women with a mean age of 49.7 years. 58% of the women were postmenopausal and 61.3% of them reported experiencing anxiety. Anxiety was assessed using the Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scale. Waist-to-height ratio was calculated according to World Health Organization standards and categorized in tertiles: upper, middle, and lower.


After examining the data, the researchers found that the women in the middle and upper thirds of waist-to-height ratio were significantly more likely to experience anxiety than those in the lowest third. They also found that the women in the upper third were more likely to experience anxiety than the women in the lower two thirds.


Researchers from the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences led the study. It was published on March 5, 2018, in the journal Menopause.

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