THIS is with reference to the directive by the IG, Punjab, to police officers to keep their abdominal girth within 38 inches’ diameter for keeping themselves physically fit, reported the press recently.

In this respect I would like to say that international health authorities, including WHO, have recommended abdominal girth to be less than 35/2 inches for men and less than 31/2 inches for women of the South Asian region.

This is based on scientific studies which have shown that abdominal visceral fat is a strong factor that causes disease like diabetes-mellitus, glucose-intolerance, hypertension, atherosclerosis, ischemic, heart disease, strokes and dyslipidemia leading to premature deaths.

Abdominal obesity is termed apple-shaped obesity while obesity confined to lower extremities common in women called peer-shaped obesity is not a risk factor for these disorders.

Likewise excess of subcutaneous fat as is present in soma Japanese wrestlers does not contribute to the risk.

A person with a large abdominal girth not only looks physically ugly but is a cause of high morbidity and high mortality.

Therefore, the directive should be rational based on the scientific evidence, i.e. abdominal girth should be less than 35/2 for men and 31/2 for women.

DR MAHMUD AHMAD AKHTAR Rawalpindi

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