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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What a Man's Biceps Say About Him

Older men who have big biceps and a smaller waist circumference are not only more attractive, but also will likely live a lot longer than their more portly friends. British researchers have concluded that the size of a man's belly and the bulk of his biceps provide a far more accurate forecast of his mortality than body mass index (BMI) alone, reports Reuters Health.

The team from the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London analyzed data on 4,107 men ages 60 to 79 over a six-year period. During the study period 713 of them died. Those whose waists were greater than 40 inches and had above-average muscle mass were 36 percent more likely to die than the men who had smaller waists and bigger-than-average muscles. Those who had big bellies and small muscles had a 55 percent greater mortality risk. Interestingly, BMI was only helpful for predicting mortality among very thin men, who were actually at an increased risk of dying. As men age, they typically gain belly fat and lose muscle mass, changes that are not picked up in a BMI number.

"In older men especially, we should not just be measuring weight, but also their waist circumference and their muscle mass as measured by mid-arm muscle circumference," lead study author Dr. S. Goya Wannamethee told Reuters Health. He said the findings underscore the importance of life-long fitness, especially in the abdominal area.

And how do men achieve this? Wannamethee said it's a combination of diet--low calorie, low saturated fat and low alcohol--along with regular physical activity. "The key message is 'keep active' all the way to the end," he told Reuters Health. The study findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
source: Netscape.com


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