Belly Fat Worse Than Obesity

Belly Fat Worse Than Obesity Belly Fat Worse Than Obesity

People with a “normal” weight but extra pounds around the middle may have lower long-term survival odds than individuals who are obese, a US study suggests.

What’s considered a normal weight for adults is often based on a measurement known as body mass index (BMI), which assesses weight relative to height. For the current study, researchers focused on people’s waist-to-hip ratio, which measures whether they’re storing excess fat around the middle.

They found that men with a normal BMI but central obesity, the clinical term for belly fat, had twice the mortality risk of men who were overweight or obese according to BMI, Reuters reported.

Normal weight women with belly fat, meanwhile, had a 32% higher mortality risk than obese women without excess pounds around the middle.

“Waist size matters, particularly in people who are a normal weight,” said senior study author Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

 “The lack of recognition of this leads people with abnormal distribution of fat to have a false sense of safety or reassurance that they don’t need to exercise or they can eat whatever they want because they are “skinny” when in reality, if a person has a normal BMI and an abnormal waist size the risk is worse than if they have a high BMI.”

To understand the connection between waist size and mortality, researchers analyzed data on more than 15,000 adults surveyed from 1988 to 1994 and then followed through 2006.

Based on BMI, about 40% of participants were normal weight, while 35% were overweight and 25% were obese.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, about 70% of participants were “centrally obese.”

Along with the waist-to-hip ratio, participants’ waist circumference was also more helpful than BMI in predicting risk of mortality, although only about 29% of people in the study were centrally obese using the WHO sex-specific criteria for waist circumference – more than 88 cm (34.6 inches) for women and more than 102 cm (40.2 inches) in men.

A man with normal-weight central obesity had a 78% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease than a man with a similar BMI but no fat around the middle, the study found.

For women in this same scenario, normal-weight central obesity more than doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.