When it comes to body fat and health – it’s all about location, location, location. Over the past decade, studies have been pilling up showing that the fat deposited within the belly (visceral fat) isparticularly dangerous, especially in terms of metabolic dysfunction and boosting cardiovascular risk. In a landmark new evaluation- marking the first study to examine death rates in Americans relative to both waist size and body weight as measured by BMI- scientists made some eye-opening conclusions. The study included a representative sample of 12,785 adult Americans followed over a 14-year period of time. Study subjects with a normal weight by BMI, but with large waists as measured by waist to hip ratio had the highest risk of death from all causes (even higher than those whose body weight put them in the obese range). Relative to those with a normal BMI and a normal waist size, the normal weight, but large waist subjects were 2.75 times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease and 2.08 times more likely to die of all causes. Bottom line- for optimal health strive for a normal body weight (BMI <25) and a normal waist size (less than 32″ in females, less than 37″ in males). (European Society of Cardiology, August 2012)
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