Larger waistline can increase anxiety in middle-aged women, study claims

Being overweight can lead to a variety of health issues, such as having a high blood pressure and being more likely to experience heart disease.

However, it’s not just your physical health that could be at risk.

A new study has revealed that individuals with a larger waistline may also have a greater chance of suffering from anxiety.

Researchers from the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, the Universidad Nacional de Piura, the Collaborative Group for Climacteric Research in Latin America and the Universidad de Chile decided to investigate the correlation between waist-to-height ratio and anxiety in middle-aged women.

The team assessed data collated from 5,580 women from 11 countries in Latin America, with their ages ranging from 40 to 59 years old.

The waist-to-height ratio of the women was calculated according to standards outlined by the World Health Organisation.

The prevalence of anxiety was recorded using the Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scale.

57.9 per cent of the women were noted as being postmenopausal, while 61.3 per cent of the women had anxiety.

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has stated a woman is typically classified as obese if the length of her waist is greater than half of her height.

The researchers concluded that the women in the middle and upper thirds of waist-to-height ratios had a more significant chance of having anxiety.

The women who were documented as being in the upper third of waist-to-height ratios were far more likely to exhibit visible signs of anxiety in comparison to those in the lower two thirds.

According to NAMS, this study is the first to pointedly investigate the relationship between waist-to-height ratio and anxiety.

“Hormone changes may be involved in the development of both anxiety and abdominal obesity because of their roles in the brain as well as in fat distribution,” said Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.

“This study provides valuable insights for healthcare providers treating middle-aged women, because it implies that waist-to-height ratio could be a good marker for evaluating patients for anxiety.


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