A new study claims more than 1.2 million people in Scotland are at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes because of their expanding waistlines.
Traditionally, obesity is measured using the Body Mass Index, but scientists are starting to believe that where people actually store excess fat may be crucial.
And studies have shown that people with extra fat around their abdomen are more at risk of developing heart problems and diabetes.
In 1995, some 19.4% of women and 14.4% of men had waists larger than 35in and 40in respectively, Scotland's Chief Medical Officer said.
But by 2003, this had risen to 34.3% of women, and 25.3% of men.
Experts from the pharmaceutical company Sanofi Aventis calculate that this adds up to more than 1.2 million people who are putting their health at risk.
Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: "This new analysis confirms obesity is a major public health problem in Scotland and is getting worse.
"We know that fat around the abdomen is particularly dangerous, so we urgently need to address these rising trends.
"If we fail to take action, we will see a massive surge in cases of diabetes and other important conditions.
"We therefore have to find ways to prevent and effectively treat obesity to prevent it becoming an even greater burden on the NHS."
Copyright © PA Business 2007
Related story: Fight against obesity to continueClinical Zone: Obesity
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"Children in school need to be educated in healthy eating/ exercise. Food labeling should be made easier to understand Cheaper sports facilities to encourage regular exercise programmes" - Name and address supplied
You are currently leaving the Nursing in Practice site. Are you sure you want to proceed?