Foundation touts app to help people watch height data

  • By Lee I-chia / Staff Reporter

A large waist circumference can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but a survey showed that up to 46.8 percent of respondents had not measured their waist in the past year, Taiwan said Monday. Millennium Health Foundation announcing the launch of its annual waistline health awareness campaign.

The foundation and Health Promotion Administration hold “89 Waistline Measurement Day” on or around August 9, with month and date numbers to remind people to keep a healthy waistline – less than 80 cm for women and less than 90 cm for men.

Foundation President Wayne Sheu (許惠恒) said this year was the 16th campaign since its launch in 2006.

Photo: Chiu Chih-jou, Taipei Times

About 70% of people are familiar with the “80cm and 90cm” healthy height standard, but 46.8% have not measured their height in the past year, Sheu said, citing a survey from the foundation.

Given the findings, the foundation collaborated with the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA), adding a new feature to its NHI Express app that reminds people to keep a diary of their height measurements.

NHIA Director General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) said the “three highs” – high blood pressure, high blood lipids and high blood sugar – are common health problems in adults, so the NHIA has launched a metabolic syndrome prevention program in June.

As the NHI Express app has been downloaded more than 20 million times, the NHIA hopes it will become a “health booklet”, Lee said.

HPA deputy director Wei Shi-lun (魏璽倫) said that of the approximately 1.9 million people who underwent the government-funded preventive adult health examination for adults aged 40 in 2020 years or older, more than 60% had a waist circumference greater than 80 cm or 90 cm and metabolic syndrome.

Chan Ding-cheng (詹鼎正), director of the department of geriatrics and gerontology at National Taiwan University Hospital, said the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is made when a person meets three of five criteria: a grand tour of cut ; blood pressure of 130/85 millimeters of mercury or higher; a fasting blood sugar level of 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher, or the person is taking blood sugar-lowering medication; a triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher; and a high-density lipoprotein level of less than 40 mg/dL for men or less than 50 mg/dL for women.

A large waistline suggests excess abdominal visceral fat, which can lead to an increased risk of cancer, dementia and cardiovascular disease, Chan said.

Studies suggest that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease increases by 2% for every 1 cm of waist circumference, while the risk of death is increased by 17% in men and 13% in women for every 5 cm, did he declare.

People with healthy waistlines should measure it at least once a year, while those with large waistlines should do it weekly, he said, adding that records can be kept at the NHI Express app help.

The foundation, in cooperation with the Uni-President Group, has a free tape measure distribution program at more than 1,300 locations across the company’s 16 distribution channels, including 7-Eleven convenience stores, Starbucks coffee shops and Carrefour supermarkets.

People can enter a lottery on the foundation’s website to win cash certificates by registering their waistline on the NHI Express app by Sunday next week.

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