Survey reveals men are off the mark when they measure up
A new poll has shown that when asked to
estimate, UK men misjudge by inches when it comes to their
The average estimated waist size of nearly 1,000 men surveyed
was 35.8 inches, 2.1 inches slimmer than the
official English average and 2.2 inches smaller than the
Our survey found that nearly nine out
of ten men did not know how to measure their waists, with 47 per
cent incorrectly believing they can get away with measuring just
above their hips.
Hardly one in eight knew the correct method,
which involves measuring at the midpoint between
their ribs and the top of the
We are teaming up with Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK to
urge men to face the music and do something about their waist size
as part of our Active
Fat campaign. Our video over on the website shows
how fat cells around your middle work hard to pump out
hormones and chemicals that can cause disease.
Men are at increased risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes and
heart disease when their waist size strays above 37 inches and high
risk when they bulge past the 40 inch mark.
The survey shows only 16 per cent of men admitted to a waist
size of 40 inches or above, however this literally only tells half
the story – the official figures show nearly a third of English men
and more than a third of Scottish men are actually at high
Tracy Parker, our Heart Health Dietitian says
“The results of this survey are worrying; they suggest men might
not know they are in the danger zone.
“Taking action doesn’t have to be a chore. If your waist strays
above the 37 inch mark, arrange some healthy activities around your
day for maximum efficiency and minimum fuss. Get off the bus a few
stops earlier, have a kick-around with colleagues or friends in
your lunch break, and swap fatty snacks and creamy desserts for
crunchy vegetables and juicy fruit.”
Khatri, Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK says: “It is
extremely worrying that so many men might not be aware that their
growing waists could be putting their health at risk, especially as
your waist size is likely to increase throughout your life.
“However knowing you are at risk is the first step to taking
action and making small lifestyle changes can sometimes be all it
takes. This can be anything from taking the stairs at work to
swapping your afternoon snack for a piece of fruit. Incorporating
these changes into your daily routine will make them easier to
stick to and remember there are many different ways to lose weight,
so set yourself targets that are achievable for you.”
Nunn, head of health information at Cancer Research UK,
said: "It’s really important that people are honest with themselves
about their weight and the health effects of any extra pounds.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of at least seven
types of cancer, including bowel cancer and pancreatic cancer.
“Scientists estimate that in the UK, the current number of
people who are overweight and obese could lead to around 19,000
cases of cancer a year. After quitting smoking, keeping a healthy
body weight is one of the best ways to reduce your chances of
getting the disease.”
All the charities involved are sharing top tips on
reducing your risk of disease on the Active Fat website.
Celebrity DJ Neil Fox is
supporting the campaign “It’s so important to be honest with
yourself and measure your waist and weight properly, especially
when you get to a certain age. I turned 50 this year so I want to
look after my health.
“I cycle regularly and this year took part in the London to
Brighton bike ride for the BHF and felt great. Of course it was
challenging, but I know how important it is to stay fit and
healthy. It’s your body and your life and this is one thing you
have to do yourself. Not only could it change your life, and
prolong it enormously... but it could be great fun in the
“So grab that tape measure and start making a difference to your
future health today.”