Most dangerous place on the body to gain weight: Americans getting bigger around the middle

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(CNN) — Americans are getting bigger around the middle, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s considered the most dangerous place on the body to gain weight.

Studies have shown that people whose weight settles in their midsections have a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions.

In this study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at adults over a period of 12 years. They found that the average waist size went up nearly an inch for men, to almost 40 inches. For women, the average waistline was about 38 inches, which is up nearly an inch and a half from 2000.

By the CDC’s estimates, 54% of U.S. adults are heavier in their midsections. That’s up from 46% in 1999-2000.

The average body mass index, or BMI, has stayed steady.