FoodFacts.com is well aware that, especially, as we age, we may develop an unfortunate situation around our mid-sections. You know what that’s like … suddenly the weight that you gain seems to gather in one specific area, affectionately known as your belly. Some of us appear to be more prone to this than others. But one thing is becoming very clear. Even if you aren’t overweight, that excess belly fat can be a precursor to heart disease and other serious health problems.
New research has been released that links belly fat in a person of normal body weight with more than a 50% likelihood of dying earlier than obese persons. Research presented in Munich this last week at a European Society of Cardiology meeting explored data from 12,785 Americans who had been followed for about 14 years in a large CDC study. Information was studied on both BMI (the measure of how fat you are in relationship to how tall you are) as well as WHR or the circumference of your belly in relationship to your hips.
Participants were split into three BMI categories … normal, overweight, and obese. Ina ddition they were divided into two categories of WHR (normal or high).
At the end of the 14-year study period, over 2500 people had passed away. Among those who had died, it was found that the people with a normal BMI but a high WHR had the greatest mortality rate of the subgroups studied. And even more importantly, that same group had a higher death rate than obese study participants. It appears that belly fat is actually different than other kinds of fat. It is composed of visceral fat cells that are more likely to promote insulin-resistance. In addition, the placement of those cells in the mid-section can cause inflammation as well.
It appears that this research is considered controversial because it analyzes not only the risks of heart disease from belly fat, but also death. It is felt that the study needs to be replicated before any conclusions can be drawn.
Advice in the meantime remains consistent with healthy eating concepts. Watch your diet: concentrate on adding more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, eliminate trans fat, reduce overall fat intake and improve the quality of the fats in your diet. And, please don’t leave exercise out of your health equation. It’s the same advice FoodFacts.com has been standing behind for years.