Health Advice



Waist not, want not

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

The world's largest waist, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, was 119 inches -- the circumference of a 1,400-pound man named Walter Hudson. The average adult male American weighs almost 198 pounds, is just over 5 feet, 9 inches and has a 40.2-inch waist. The average American woman's waist size is 38.7 inches -- and she's not quite 5 feet, 4 inches and 170 pounds. In comparison to the recordholder's girth, that sounds pretty reasonable, but think again. It actually means that half of the folks in the U.S. are above that average -- in fact, 42.4% of men and women are obese.

When you're overweight or obese, visceral fat is packed around your internal organs, fueling inflammation and causing insulin resistance, high blood pressure and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, breast and colorectal cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and perhaps dementia. The best ways to trim that fat, reduce your waistline (men to below 40 inches; women below 38), and fight off aging-related health problems:

-- Resistance training two to three times weekly using your body weight, stretchy bands or weight machines.

-- Eating a fiber-rich, plant-based diet with no red or processed meats, added sugars or highly processed foods.

-- Seven to eight hours of sleep nightly -- too little or too much packs on visceral fat.

-- Stress management to lower chronically elevated cortisol hormone levels that encourage adding belly fat (in case you need extra fuel to fight off an attacking tiger).


If you waste your waist, you'll not want for anything, since you're likely to have reclaimed your health.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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