Millions of Americans suffer from “shrinking leg syndrome” and its most common symptom, shopping for pants with a shorter inseam. Shrinking leg syndrome is easily explained. Sixty-nine percent of Americans are overweight or obese (1). For a fit person, the natural waist is around the level of the belly button. However, most Americans are not fit. They compensate for their expanding bellies by wearing their pants under their gut. Looking at a diagram of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian man alongside the average American man is instructive. The dotted line shows the natural waist (figure 1). The average American man compensates for his bloated belly by wearing his pants lower on the hips leading to a shorter inseam as his belly grows. The phenomenon is widespread. Although the average American man has a 40" waist and the average American woman has a 37.5" waist (2), the most common size pants sold have a 34" waist (3). A lot of pants are being worn below the belly.
Although “shrinking leg syndrome” sounds cute, it is a major health issue. Scientists say the most dangerous fat is belly fat (4). Abdominal obesity increases your chances of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, osteoporosis, stroke and dementia (5). However, shrinking leg syndrome can be reversed. I admit that I suffered from shrinking leg syndrome. I don’t know if I was in denial or just not very bright, but I could not figure out why pants that formerly fit began dragging the ground and I was shopping for a 29" inseam.” However, after following The Simply Fit Diet, I have returned to the size pants I wore in college. Diet and exercise can reverse shrinking leg syndrome and lower the risk of major health issues.
2. Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2007–2010, published 2012, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics, http://www.cdc. gov/nchs/data/series/sr_11/sr11_252.pdf