Belly fat: why you should be careful with the fat that accumulates in the belly

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Increasing 10 centimeters from the waist increases the risk of death by 8%. Researchers explain why excess belly fat may be associated with a risk of premature death.

We know that being overweight and obese increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and even cardiovascular disease. But what we know less is that the amount of abdominal fat is crucial. This is what a new study published in the British Medical Journal reveals.

Abdominal fat: would increase the risk of premature death

The authors of this work analyzed 72 studies with more than 2.5 million participants that were followed for a period of 3 to 24 years. They found that excess belly fat was associated with an increased risk of premature death from any cause and regardless of the amount of total body fat.

The study found that in women, each 10-centimeter increase in waist circumference could increase the risk of death by 8%. For men, a 4-inch waistline could increase the risk of death by 12%. However, a large hip and thigh circumference was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Measuring abdominal fat to assess the risk of premature death?

Part of the reason excess belly fat seems so dangerous is because it correlates with whats called visceral fat. This type of fat in the abdomen is different from that found in other areas. And for good reason: it is deep and sits around the organs. Ultimately, therefore, it can alter its operation.

This study, which points to the risks associated with excess abdominal fat, suggests that "measurements of abdominal fat could be used as an additional approach, in combination with body mass index, to determine the risk of premature death," they conclude. the authors.

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