A recent study suggests that having a large waist, regardless of Body-Mass Index (BMI), increases the risk of mortality (death) from all causes. The numbers increase to a little more than twice as probable for a male to have a deadly health problem with a 47 inch waist (or more) than a male with a 35 inch (or less) waist. For Females, the risk is 2.4 times as great for a woman at or above a 43 inch waist versus a 29 inch waist or less.
Source: Broussard CS et al, Jacobs EJ et al, Waist circumference and all cause mortality in a large US cohort. Arch Int Med, Aug 2010; 170(15):1293-1301,