The FAT map of Britain: Brummies have the largest waistlines and Brighton boys are the thinnest
Men in Birmingham have the biggest waist measurements, followed by those in Belfast and SheffieldWomen in the East Midlands and Northern Ireland largest around the middleNearly every area of the UK has measurement near the 'danger' level for an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, infertility and diabetesFigures follow research which found most men underestimate their waistlines by TWO INCHES
19:41 GMT, 17 December 2012
Britons' waistlines are getting bigger – and people living in the Midlands are battling the bulge more than the rest of us.
For new statistics suggest that Birmingham men are the most rotund around the middle, while ladies in the East Midlands are wider than their counterparts around the UK.
The figures, released by the virtual fitting room company Fits.me, also have some startling health implications – and paint a worrying picture for the future.
Map showing the average waist size of men and women in the UK, by region
To avoid a massively raised risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, men's waistlines should be no bigger than 37 inches and women's no more than 32. But many men underestimate by up to two inches, say experts
Fat around the waist has been found to be worse for our health than fat on the bottom and hips, in terms of the risk of heart disease, cancer, infertility and cancer.
Not only is the fat nearer our vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys, but abdominal fat cells are more active than those around the thighs and bottom, producing toxic substances that can
cause damage. So body shape, and where we carry excess fat, is just as important as overall weight.
The British Heart Foundation says that men should have a waistline of no more than 37 inches – after this, the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes rises significantly.
Women should have a waist measurement of no more than 32 inches. But those in several regions other than the East Midlands – namely Northern Ireland, north east England, Wales and southern Scotland – were also found to have broken this benchmark.
Birmingham men have the largest waistlines, while Brighton chaps are the slimmest
Even their counterparts in the South East, who had the lowest average measurement, were close to the threshold at 31.3 inches.
In men, the average was 35.8 inches. Brighton chaps were the slimmest, with an average waist size of 35.08 inches.
The figures come from analysis of the measurements of 50,000 UK men who have submitted their own measurements to one of Fits.me’s virtual fitting rooms.
The company's 'fitting rooms' are used by several retailers such as Hawes & Curtis and Thomas Pink, to help their customers buy the right size of garment when shopping online.
However previous research casts doubt
on whether, relatively speaking, men do have slimmer waists than women,
as these figures suggest.
A study last year from the British Heart Foundation found that men underestimate the size of their waist by as much as two inches .
The survey found that the average British man estimated that they had a waist size of 35.8 inches, more than two inches smaller than English and Scottish national averages [37.9 and 38 inches respectively].
Ninety per cent of the 1,000 men surveyed by the charity even admitted that they didn't know how to measure their waist properly.
Almost half thought they could measure just above the hips – resulting in an inaccurately small measurement.
Only one in eight knew the correct method, which involves measuring at the midpoint between their ribs and the top of the hips.
And just one in six men admitted to having a 40 inch-plus waist – half the actual number classed officially as having a high-risk waist size.
My Big Greek Waistline: Internationally, Greek men were found to have the largest waistlines, shortly followed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Pictured: Greek music and dance duo Stavros Flatley
Internationally, Greece leads the way
for the chunkiest waistlines, followed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
British men measure in at a
respectable 58th out of 81 countries in which data was collected, with
the global average waist measurement being 36.4 inches. Japan has the
slimmest men, at an average 33.2 inches.
largest female waist measurements are in Nigeria (32.5in) and Serbia the thinnest
(28.2in). At 31.7inches, the UK’s ladies rank 11th (out of 85), with a
global average for women of 30.1 inches.
Data was also collected for other measurements, such as chest and neck size. The average collar size for men in the UK was 16.03. This too has health implications: a collar size of 17 increases the risk of snoring and sleep apnoea – where you stop breathing while asleep. This too raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
‘The best thing to do is lose some weight if your BMI is classed as obese (30 or more) or you have a collar size of 17 or more,’ says Mr Elliot Benjamin, a consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London.
‘A large amount of weight increases pressure on your neck, so your airways are more likely to collapse and you will snore. Reducing that pressure by losing weight can make big difference.’