A recent study deems belly fat a sign for later health problems in slim people, too, not only in the over-weight. Normal-weight individuals who have extra fat around the middle may have higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other conditions than obese people, a recent study suggests.
Usually, when doctors qualify a person as normal-weight they take into account the body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement based on weight to height ratio.
Yet, this time researchers focused on waist-to-hip ratio and they learned that skinny people can be ‘central obese,’ or be affected by excess fat stored around their waist.
The findings revealed that men with normal BMI but who have belly fat are twice as likely to die prematurely as their overweight or obese peers. Additionally, slim women with a normal BMI but belly fat problems were 32 percent more likely to die of all causes than their obese peers that were not affected by ‘central obesity.’
“Waist size matters, particularly in people who are a normal weight,”
concluded Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, lead author of the study and researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Dr. Lopez-Jimenez explained that thin people who have belly fat are usually less concerned about their health because of the ‘false sense of safety’ their weight provides them. As a result, they rarely exercise and they indulge in unhealthy foods, which can later take a toll on their health.
Researchers explained that being ‘skinny’ but having abnormal excess fat along waist is riskier than having a high BMI. Researchers found a link between abnormal waist size and risk of death by sifting through data on over 15,000 adults.
About 40 percent pf study participants had a normal BMI, 35 percent were overweight, while the rest were clinically obese. And about 70 percent of volunteers were ‘centrally obese,’ according to WHO standards. Central obesity occurs when waist-to-hip ratio is minimum 0.85 for women and 0.90 for men.
Researchers said that that ratio helped them better assess mortality risk in people than a high BMI. Nevertheless, only about 30 percent of study participants were centrally obese according to their waist circumference: at least 34.6 inches for females and 40.2 inches for males.
In more than a decade, 3,222 participants died. Nearly half of those people were killed by a cardiovascular condition.
The recent study found that a ‘skinny’ man with central obesity had a 78 percent higher risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease than a man with no central obesity. Women affected by central obesity saw their chances of dying from heart disease and stroke more than double.
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