Diabetes & Weight

Diabetes UK

You might be wondering what waist measurement has to do with your risk of type 2 diabetes. Or what a healthy waist size is. If you find that your waist size is too large, here are some ways you can reduce it.

Why is your waist size important?

Carrying extra weight around your middle means fat can build up around organs, like your liver and pancreas. This can cause something called insulin resistance as the insulin can’t get through the fat. This means the insulin your body produces doesn’t work properly, and that increases your chance of having high blood glucose (sugar).

You should make sure your overall weight and body mass index (BMI) are healthy, but even if they are, you may still be at risk of type 2 diabetes if you have a large waist measurement. 

What is a healthy waist size?

This all depends on your gender and ethnicity. For a healthy measurement you need to aim to be less than:

  • 80cm (31.5in) for all women
  • 94cm (37in) for most men
  • 90cm (35in) for South Asian men.

This is because you have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes if you are of black or South Asian background.

How to reduce your waist measurement

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes when it comes to reducing your waist size. It comes down to eating well and moving more. Start by setting some realistic, achievable changes to suit your lifestyle.

You can become more active by making small changes to your lifestyle. You can fit them around your daily life and in your budget. Here are three top tips to help make your life more active: 

  • Set clear goals to move more – setting goals can help you break down what you need to do and how to do it. This could be aiming to walk more, taking up a new activity or learning a new skill such as swimming or running.
  • Plan ahead – we all have busy lives, so try to plan what you’re going to eat and what activity you're going to do this week, fitting it around your social life. You can always squeeze in an activity during your lunch hour or go for walk instead of getting another form of transport.
  • Start by making small changes – it's time to put your plan into action. Start small and do something you enjoy. Doing just a little bit more each day will still make a difference. It also means you're more likely to stick to it. Just remember, small changes to your routine won’t have such a big impact, so start small and grow

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