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Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Mean Measuring Tape & A Fruity Tale

The vile, vile tool of the measuring tape. Ouchie. Cruel and merciless and unyielding.

But all Princess Dieters need one to see how much progress--yes, yes, progress!-is being made, especially given how important the docs tell us that waist-to-hip ratios are in determing certain risk factors.

BTW, do you know what fruit you are? Are you an apple, that shape that carries such risks of diabetes and heart disease? Or are you a pear, that shape many women dread, cause it means big hips in relation to smaller upper body? Hey, a pear is a good fruit to be, healthwise. Smallish waist to roundy hips is womanly--and it's good for your heart.

So, I brought out the dread implement, that long and skinny, dare I say snakey, tape and took the two crucial measurements: waist and hip.

48 and 59


Now, out comes the calculator. I use a bright red one with a flip top that I keep in my desk drawer. You can use this one online.

Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement and....I got .81 as the quotient.

The online calculator says I'm an AVOCADO. (No, sorry, I just don't look good in that color. BUT, I love to eat avocados, so, well, I'll just think "salad" and not "tunic top.")

Here's the stuff they told avocado me:

Your waist-to-hip ratio is 0.81

You're an "avocado"

Even though your hips are easily larger than your waist, your risk is higher than a pear's (but lower than an apple's). Unlike fat on your hips, which tends to just sit there, the fat you carry around your middle or on your upper torso is easily converted into energy whenever your body runs short. That process raises cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease or stroke. It also causes insulin resistance, a common prelude to diabetes. After menopause, women are much likelier to gain weight around their middles and on their upper torsos.

Researchers studying nearly 45,000 women aged 40 to 65 in the ongoing Nurses Health Study have found a remarkable link between waist-to-hip ratios and serious health problems. If you're under age 60 and your ratio is between 0.76 and 0.88, you have two and a half to three times as much chance of getting coronary disease as women whose ratios are 0.72 and less. If you're 60 or older, the risk falls to about one and a half times that of women 0.72 and under.

Waist size alone can signal the danger of heart disease and diabetes. Your waist is larger than 38 inches, which means your chances of getting coronary heart disease are triple those of women whose waists measure 28 inches or less. If you're under age 60, the risk goes even higher -- four times that faced by smaller-waisted women. Also, the possibility that you'll develop diabetes is roughly five times what is for women with small waists (26 inches or less).

So, what fruit are YOU?

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