Category Archives: Belly Fat

Watching your waistline takes on new meaning

heart-diseaseWhile we know that obesity elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease, we may not be aware of how a growing waistline effects health. Abdominal obesity — sometimes benignly referred to as belly fat or midriff bulge — might not appear to be a tremendous concern. Being overweight isn’t necessarily associated with obesity. But extra weight gathering in your midsection may not actually be harmless as some might think.

Sudden cardiac death, or SCD for short, occurs without warning, and is caused by a sudden unexpected loss of heart function, which rapidly reduces blood flow around the body, including to the brain. It is distinct from a heart attack, and kills around 300,000 people in the USA every year.

Obesity has long been associated with various unfavourable changes in cardiovascular health, including SCD. But researchers wanted to find out if a persistent midriff bulge may carry a greater risk of SCD than general obesity as the evidence suggests this body fat distribution may be more dangerous.

They therefore studied almost 15,000 middle aged men and women (45-64 years of age), all of whom were taking part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

ARIC has been tracking the causes of artery narrowing in middle aged Americans since 1987.
All the participants (55% women; 26% African American) underwent a detailed health assessment in 1987-9, and then again in 1990-92, 1993-5, 1996-8, and 2011-13. This included measurements of weight, height, waist circumference, and the waist to hip ratio.

During the monitoring period, which averaged 12.5 years, 253 SCDs occurred. Those affected were in their mid-fifties, on average; one in three was female; and four out of 10 were of African American heritage.
Unsurprisingly, those who died suddenly tended to have a higher prevalence of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

They also had a higher BMI (body mass index), larger waist circumference, and a larger waist to hip ratio–an indicator of central obesity–than those who did not sustain an SCD.

The risk of SCD was associated with general obesity, but only in non-smokers. And of the measures of obesity–BMI, waist circumference, and waist to hip ratio–waist to hip ratio was the most strongly associated with SCD risk after taking account of other influential factors.
Those with the highest waist to hip ratio had double the risk of SCD of those with a normal ratio.

And unlike BMI and waist circumference, the association between waist to hip ratio was independent of existing coronary heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure and other known risk factors.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, added to which the precise mechanisms for the association between SCD and central obesity are not known, say the researchers.

But fat around the midriff is thought to be more critical than fat stored elsewhere in the body, because of its influence on inflammation.

Even though this study is observational in nature, it certainly points to links between excess abdominal weight and heart health. FoodFacts.com wants us all to remain aware that even without the presence of technical obesity, carrying too much weight in your midsection may have detrimental health effects. Watch your waistline … not because a smaller waist measurement helps you look better, but because you’ll stay healthier longer without belly fat.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141210204626.htm

Belly fat might be worse for your heart than obesity

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.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/30/can-love-handles-kill-why-having-a-paunch-may-be-worse-than-being-obese/#ixzz254er4DZa