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Pelvis Continues to Widen as You Age; May Result in Larger Waistline

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Most people reach their peak in height by the age of 20, leading to the assumption that skeletal growth also stops around the same time.  But a new study shows that although you might not be getting taller, your pelvis does continue to grow well past your 20s.

Examining CT scans from 246 patients aged between 20 and 79, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that those in the oldest age group had pelvises that, on average, were almost an inch wider than those belonging to the younger patients.

The findings also show that this increase in pelvis width may also attribute to the expanding waistlines commonly seen as people get older.

"I think it's a fairly common human experience that people find themselves to be wider at the age of 40 or 60 then they were at 20," said Laurence E. Dahners, MD, senior author of the study and a professor in the Department of Orthopaedics in the UNC School of Medicine.  "Until recently we assumed that this was caused simply by an increase in body fat.  Our findings suggest that pelvic growth may contribute to people becoming wider and having a larger waist size as they get older, whether or not they also have an increase in body fat."

The study found that a one-inch increase in pelvic diameter may result in a three-inch increase to one's waist.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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