“Yet, some scientists argue that risk factors for metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease are more complicated than this study suggests. Linda Bacon, PhD, a nutritionist and author of Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight, wishes that waist circumference wasn’t considered a “risk factor” of metabolic syndrome. Plenty of people who have waists bigger than 34 or 40 inches are metabolically healthy in every other sense, she says, and they never get diabetes or heart disease.
In fact, Bacon argues that weight discrimination is a bigger cause of metabolic disease than weight itself. “Many of the things [like diabetes and heart disease] that we tend to blame on weight can instead be blamed on weight stigma,” she says. “It’s harder to live in a heavier body, given how people are treated.””