STATES CHRONICLE – Researchers found there are other factors that can measure death risk better and more accurate than the body mass index (BMI), specifically the fat around our stomachs. According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, people who have normal weight but carry extra fat on the waistline have lower survival rates than the overweight or obese.
Led by specialist Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, the study observed 15,000 men and women in the U.S. with an average age of 45 and found that women with fat bellies and a normal BMI presented a 48 percent higher death risk than those with a normal BMI – the standard measure for weight and height – and a normal belly fat.
It is not news that central obesity is linked with increased risk of cardiovascular and death, but this is the first research to focus on the question regarding people of normal weight. Some experts argue that health risks are better measured by the waist-to-hip circumference, for example, rather than the BMI, because it reflects where a person carries the extra fat.
Recent years have brought more and more suspicious regarding the usefulness of the BMI, claiming this measure is rather misleading when it comes to predicting deadly health risks. In light of the new results, researchers think they have implications for advising patients whose BMI puts them in the normal range in spite of a large belly.
Dr. Lopez-Jimenez thinks that health issues could be pictured more accurately by measuring a person’s waist-to-hip ratio as it accounts for visceral fat – the fat around the abdomen that get stored around internal organs.
In spite of being affectionately called “love handles” or “beer gut,” central obesity is an increasing problem in the U.S., and taking it as a hint in assessing a person’s health has become more useful than BMI. The body mass index can return some misleading results, occasionally mischaracterizing a tall or muscular person as being overweight or obese.
Bottom line, the study concluded that women who are rounder in the middle in spite of having a normal BMI could experience a doubled risk of dying from heart disease. Other experts, such as Dr. Daniel Neides of the Wellness Institute, chimed in saying that “central obesity is unhealthier than general obesity.”
Dr. Neides said in a press release that the “spare tire” that often rolls over your pant line could be a red flag signaling higher risk for these diseases as you get older.
Image Source: Full Spectrum Love Land