Waistlines keep expanding, even as obesity rates hold steady

Oct. 4, 2014—The waistlines of American adults are expanding, according to data published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and colleagues.

That may help the bottom lines of companies that make pants and skirts with elastic waists. But it’s bad news for the country’s health, because it suggests that the number of Americans with metabolic syndrome won’t be falling anytime soon.

Despite the fact that obesity rates in the United States have stopped climbing, the fat stored around our waists, stomachs and abdomens has increased.

Why abdominal fat is important

The researchers used waistline circumference as a measure of abdominal fat. Men whose waistlines were over 40.2 inches and women whose waistlines were over 34.6 inches were classified as having abdominal obesity.

Abdominal obesity is one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions that make you vulnerable to serious health problems.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), those who have metabolic syndrome are about twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to get type 2 diabetes as someone without the syndrome. Metabolic syndrome also increases risk for stroke.

About the measurements

The researchers looked at waistline measurements of 32,816 adults that were recorded during seven separate National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999 through 2012. The study included data from men and nonpregnant women age 20 and older.

Waistlines grew steadily over those 14 years. Some of the more significant increases were seen in women, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans. On average, the waistlines in these groups increased an average of 1.5 inches.

The study found that, overall, the number of adults with abdominal obesity jumped from 46.4 percent of adults to 54.2 percent. The study was published as a research letter in the Sept. 17 issue of JAMA and can be accessed online.

The take-home message
Weight gain that occurs around the abdomen area could indicate abdominal obesity—a growing problem among American adults. As noted by the NHLBI, abdominal obesity is a risk factor of metabolic syndrome. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a person must have at least three of the following risk factors:

  • A large waistline
  • High triglyceride levels—a type of fat found within the blood
  • A low level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)—the good cholesterol—in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar

According to the NHLBI, metabolic syndrome could replace smoking as the leading risk factor for heart disease.

To help prevent or control metabolic syndrome, it is important to talk to your doctor if you have experienced a growing waistline. If your doctor has advised you to lose weight, ask him or her about proven strategies for weight loss.

Learn some steps that can help set you on the path to success here.


West Valley HealthyNow Clinic Opens!

Memorial Physicians is pleased to talk about the opening of a third Healthy Now clinic, located at 120 S. 72nd Ave,Suite 102, Yakima, WA, 98908 in Yakima. Healthy Now is a convenient care clinic for those times when your doctor is not available and you need care fast, but the emergency room is not the best option. Learn more >>

What is a convenient care clinic?

Convenient care clinics are usually open for extended hours, often before and after your doctor’s regular business hours and on weekends. They help reduce employee absenteeism since they offer flexible hours and no appointment is needed. If you have a non-urgent medical condition, a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant might be able to quickly provide the care you need, including prescriptions.


Memorial Physicians now has three Healthy Now convenient care clinics?

That’s right. Memorial Physicians opened the first Healthy Now clinic in December at 3909 Creekside Loop in Yakima, and it’s definitely meeting a need in the community and our second in Terrace Heights at 3904 Terrace Heights Drive opened in June. We’ve averaged 29 patients per day since it opened.

We also expect the third clinic in West Valley at 120 S. 72nd Ave to serve a very real need for health care services in that neighborhood in Yakima, and we’re excited to offer that care.

Will all three clinics offer the same services?

Yes. We will treat a variety of illnesses and injuries that might not be serious enough for a trip to the emergency room.

• Colds                                                 • Ear Aches                                         • Sore Throats

• Minor Burns                                   • Sprains and Strains                      • Flu

• Routine physicals for camp, school or employment

What can I expect?

At Healthy Now you and your family will be seen quickly and professionally by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. These trusted health care professionals are licensed and credentialed to practice medicine, and they are on site to follow through on your care, from symptom to prescription.

Because these are walk-in clinics, we are unable to predict exact wait times, but the average office visit for minor illnesses is 20 minutes. Keep in mind, we are likely to be busiest before and after the average work/school day (8–10 a.m. and 5–7:30 p.m.). Like other health care settings, you may also experience longer wait times in the fall and winter months.

Healthy Now accepts most insurance plans and Medicare. We also accept cash, credit cards, and debit cards.

What is your location and hours?

Hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome.  Appointments are available online at healthynowclinic.com.

Or call 972-1259 for the West Valley location, 574-6095 for the Creekside location,or 574-6090 for the Terrace Heights location.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Memorial kicks off month with awareness, fundraising campaign

YAKIMA – All that pink has a purpose.

Three-hundred pink bras and hundreds of tiny pink lights are dangling from the trees outside ‘Ohana Mammography Center on Wednesday, as Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and The Memorial Foundation kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The awareness and fundraising campaign aims to remind women about the importance of self-exams and mammograms and encourages local support for breast cancer services.

All this month, you can stop by ‘Ohana at 1515 W. Yakima Ave. to contribute to the foundation’s Breast Cancer Fund or visit keepsupportlocal.org to make a donation online. The Breast Cancer Fund provides scholarships for mammograms for women in need and helps pay for vital diagnostic equipment. In the past, money raised for the fund has helped to pay for a digital mammography machine and 3D ultrasound equipment, among other things.

The campaign also aims to remind women about the need for self-exams and mammograms. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and an estimated 40,000 women will die from the disease in the United States this year, making breast cancer the second-leading cause of cancer death among women, behind lung cancer.

The bras will be taken down from the trees late Wednesday to be donated to the Women’s Resource Center of the YWCA of Yakima. The lights will remain up for the month of October.

About Memorial

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is a 226-bed, acute-care, not-for-profit, community hospital serving Central Washington’s Yakima Valley. Memorial Family of Services includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Visit Memorial online at www.yakimamemorial.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/yakimavalleymemorialhospital), Twitter (www.twitter.com/Yakima_Memorial) or Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/yvmh). The Memorial Foundation has raised and distributed $45 million toward innovative health care programs in the Yakima Valley (www.memfound.org).