Fat Alone, Not Its Location, May Be Key To Heart Problems
Date: April 11th, 2011
Details: Ready for this one ! BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio, whether assessed singly or in combination, do not importantly improve cardiovascular disease risk prediction in people in developed countries. This was the conclusion from an international study suggesting that being obese boosts the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke regardless of where the excess fat is stored in the body.
These findings contradict earlier research to a widely adopted notion that not all obesity is alike, with so-called apple-shaped people, who carry fat mainly in their midsections, facing a bigger risk for heart problems than those whose excess fat is carried on the hips or elsewhere. Better indicators, the findings say, are blood cholesterol measurements and blood pressure readings. The study's findings, developed by a global team of 200 scientists from 17 countries and based at the University of Cambridge, UK are reported in the March 11 online version of The Lancet. To explore the predictive power of various heart disease risk factors, the researchers examined data from 58 studies that included more than 222,000 men and women from 17 countries. None of the study participants had a history of heart disease. Data for most people included BMI readings, waist circumference measurements, waist-to-hip ratios, age, gender, smoking history, blood pressure readings, diabetes history and cholesterol measurements. For nearly 64,000 people, fat deposit assessments were conducted periodically for a number of years. Over about a decade, more than 14,000 participants had a heart attack or a stroke.
The study concluded that being obese certainly raises the overall risk for heart disease, but that those who carry much of their excess fat in the stomach region do not appear to face a particularly higher risk, compared with those whose fat deposits are distributed differently.