People with beer bellies at greater risk of death than those who are obese, study finds
Slim adults with a ‘spare tyre’ of fat around their stomach have a twice as high mortality risk than those who are overweight
Source: The Telegraph
By Camilla Turner
9 Nov 2015
Slim people with beer bellies are at greater risk of death than those who are overweight or obese, a study has found.
Adults who are a normal weight but who have a “spare tyre” of fat around their stomach, also known as central obesity, have a twice as high mortality risk than those who are heavier but with a more even fat distribution across their bodies, scientists found.
Previous research has suggested that central obesity is linked to increased total and cardiovascular death.Those with extra stomach fat have less muscle mass, which is associated with higher mortality risk and metabolic dysregulation.
However, this is the first time a study has focussed on assessing the death risk in persons with body amass index (BMI) and central obesity compared with those who are overweight or obese.
“Obesity defined by BMI or measures of central obesity, such as waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist circumference, is associated with increased total and cardiovascular mortality,” said Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota.
“However, a recent meta-analysis showed that being overweight according to BMI was actually associated with lower total mortality, challenging the paradigm that BMI is linked to increased mortality.
“Further whether measures of fat distribution provide any incremental risk information beyond BMI alone has been a major source of controversy.”
The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, involved 15,184 adults aged 18 to 90. Body fat distribution was assessed based on anthropometric indicators.
Dr Lopez-Jimenez said: “Normal-weight central obesity defined by WHR is associated with higher mortality than BMI-defined obesity, particularly in the absence of central fat distribution.
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“Our findings suggest that persons with normal-weight central obesity may represent an important target population for lifestyle modification and other preventive strategies.
“Future studies should focus on identifying factors associated with the development of normal-weight central obesity and better understanding the effect of normal-weight central obesity on health outcomes.
“Until such data are available, the use of BMI with measures of central obesity may provide better adiposity-related risk factor stratification cal practice than either method alone.”