Belly fat can put you at higher death risk
Even people with normal weight can face a higher death risk than the obese people, if they carry a prominent belly, a latest research reports.
"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 normal weight," Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, senior study author and cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has been quoted as saying.
"This group has the highest death rate, even higher than those who are considered obese based on BMI, a height to weight ratio. From a public health perspective, this is a significant finding," Lopez-Jimenez, has been quoted saying in a Mayo statement.
For this study the researchers included 12,785 participants aged 18 and above from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) and provided a representative sample of the US population.
As a part of the study, body measurements such as height, weight, waist circumference and hip circumference, as well as socio-economic status, physiological and lab measurements were taken into account.
To make study more effective, the subjects were divided into three categories of BMI -- normal, overweight and obese. In addition, two categories of waist-to-hip ratio in women and men were also made. The mean age of subjects was 44 years and 47.4 percent were men.
The median follow up period was 14.3 years. The researchers recorded 2,562 deaths, of which 1,138 were linked to cardiovascular issues.
The participants whose BMI was normal but were obese in belly were found at the highest cardiovascular death risk and the highest death risk from all causes among all subgroups.
The researchers found that the risk of cardiovascular death among persons with belly fat was 2.75 times higher and the risk of death from all causes was 2.08 times higher in normal weight obese people in comparison to the subjects with normal BMI and normal waist-to-hip ratio.
"To our knowledge, it is the first study that evaluated nationwide estimates of death in central obesity even in the absence of obesity as measured by BMI," Karine Sahakyan, cardiology research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester has been quoted as saying.
The research findings were presented at European Society of Cardiology Congress 2012.
--with inputs from IANS
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