Overweight or obese persons might be likely victims of heart disease. But normal weight people who carry extra fat around their belly could have a higher risk of dying from heart disease than the obese. Fat around stomach and abdomen is called visceral fat. An excess of visceral fat is known as abdominal obesity or central obesity.
At the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Munich on August 27, 2012, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota warned that there is no assurance that a person with a norma
BMI would have a low risk of heart disease. It all depends on where the fat is distributed on the body.
BMI stands for body mass index, which is considered as a crude measure of both fatness and fat distribution. It is calculated by dividing the weight in kilos by the square of the height in meters.
12,785 American adults, who participated in a national survey, were involved in the study. These participants were followed for an average of 14 years. Within that period, 2,562 participants died, including 1,138 from heart disease.
The participants were classified as ‘normal weight’ if BMI was between 18.5 and 24.9, ‘overweight’ if BMI was between 25 and 29.9, and ‘obese’ if BMI was above 30. Waist-to-hip ratio was used to determine the amount of weight they carried around their waist.
They were divided into 6 groups based on which of the BMI groups they were in and whether they had a normal or high waist-to-hip ratio. Men with waist measurement that is 90 percent or more of their hip measurement were considered to have a high waist-to-hip ratio. For women, if the waist measurement is 85 percent or more of their hip size, they are said to have a high waist-to-hip ratio
It was found that participants of normal BMI but with a high waist-to-hip ratio had the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and they also had the highest risk of dying from any causes among the 6 groups. These participants were 2.75 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 2.08 times more likely to die from any causes than those of normal-weight with normal waist-to-hip ratio.
According to researchers, the higher risk of death could be related to a higher visceral fat accumulation, which is associated with insulin resistance and other risk factors.