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Feb. 8 2010 12:00 AM

    Health complications and costs associated with obesity are well known; abdominal obesity, which is characterized by an increased waist has been shown to worsen metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and now, a study has demonstrated that a higher waist circumference is also an independent factor for increasing health care costs.

    A recent study published in Value in Health evaluated health care costs not only by body weight but also by differences in waist circumference in over 10,800 people in the US and Germany.

    Annual health care costs of people with a greater waist circumference were 16 to 18% higher in Germany and 20 to 30% higher in the US compared to people with a relatively lower waist circumference in the same overweight and obesity classification. Annual health care costs (related to inpatient, outpatient care and prescription drugs) due to waist circumference were estimated after controlling for body mass index (BMI), demographic and lifestyle factors.