A study has found that people who are not overweight but store most of their fat around their waist are three times more likely to die from heart disease or a stroke.
The Doctors from the Mayo Clinic in the US examined the health of 12,875 people over a 14-year average.
They recorded patients’ body mass index (BMI) as well as their waist-to-hip ratio, which signified how much weight they stored on their belly.
During the length of the study, 2562 patients died, including 1138 as a result of a cardiovascular problem, such as heart disease or stroke.
The findings suggest that people with a normal BMI but a high waist-to-hip ratio were 2.75 times more likely to die from a cardiovascular condition than people who were normal on both scales. Even people who were clinically obese and had a high proportion of fat stored around their middle had only 2.34 times the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke compared with the healthiest group.
Prof Peter Weissberg, the medical director of the British Heart Foundation, agreed with the findings and said that waist-to-hip measurement was a “stronger indicator” of cardiovascular risk than BMI.
Individuals with a high waist-to-hip ration should offset their risk by exercising more and sticking to a healthy diet.
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