Tags: belly | fat | death | obese

Belly fat Poses Greater Risks than Obesity

Wednesday, 29 August 2012 12:11 PM

People who are not overweight, but still have a lot of belly fat have a higher death risk than even individuals who are clinically obese, according to surprising new Mayo Clinic research.
The findings, presented this week at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich, suggest that standard measures of weight and obesity based on body mass index (BMI) may not be enough to determine a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Lead researcher Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said how and where a person’s fat is distributed on the body may tell more about a person’s overall health than BMI , adding that it can be determined easily by getting a waist-to-hip measurements.
"We knew from previous research that central obesity is bad, but what is new in this research is that the distribution of the fat is very important even in people with a normal weight," he said. "This group has the highest death rate, even higher than those who are considered obese based on [BMI].
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The Mayo study involved 12,785 people 18 and older whose body measurements – such as height, weight, waist circumference and hip circumference – were recorded, along with their socioeconomic status and overall health.
Study participants were grouped by BMI into three categories (normal, overweight, and obese) and into two categories of waist-to-hip ratio (normal and high). Researchers then followed them for more than 14 years, during which time 2,562 died – 1,138 of them due to cardiovascular-related conditions.
The results showed the risk of cardiovascular death was 2.75 times higher, and the risk of death from all causes was 2.08 times higher, in people of normal weight with high levels of abdominal fat, compared with those with a normal BMI and waist-to-hip ratio.
"The high risk of death may be related to a higher visceral fat accumulation in this group, which is associated with insulin resistance and other risk factors, the limited amount of fat located on the hips and legs, which is fat with presumed protective effects, and to the relatively limited amount of muscle mass," said Dr. Karine Sahakyan, a Mayo cardiovascular research fellow.
This study was funded, in part, by National Institutes of Health.
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Normal-weight people who have a lot of belly fat have a higher death risk than obese individuals.
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 12:11 PM
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