Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The longer you remain obese, the more your diabetes risk increases. Central obesity, which is excess fat around your mid-section or waist, is a strong predictor of type 2 diabetes.1 Measure the distance around your waist (your waist circumference) to predict diabetes risk more accurately.2 Even if you have a normal BMI, an “apple-shaped body” (with excess fat around the waist) increases your diabetes risk. You can measure waist circumference by putting a tape measure around your body halfway between your hip bone and your lowest rib, usually at the level of your belly button.
Your target measurement for waist circumference should be less than or equal to 90 cm (35.5 in) for men and 80 cm (31.5 in) for women.3
We also use a height-weight ratio called body-mass index (BMI) to determine if someone is overweight or obese. Because Asians tend to store more fat around their waists and have more body fat for the same BMI,4 Asians have lower BMI cutoffs than for people of European ancestry. See the chart below to calculate your BMI and determine if you are overweight or obese and therefore at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.*
* Please note that this BMI chart is for a general Asian audience. Different countries have slightly different cut-offs to define overweight and obesity. (Click here if you would prefer to measure your BMI using feet/inches and pounds.)
1 Ley SH, Schulze MB, Hivert MF, Meigs JB, Hu FB. “Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes in America. In press.