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Belly Fat More Deadly than Obesity?

By on November 11, 2015

Obesity is a bad actor for millions of African Americans. Now there is evidence that some “skinny” people who carry extra weight around their mid-section may be at greater risk for early death than obese people.

Central obesity has been shown in previous studies to increase risk for cardiovascular disease and poses risks to health, however its potential effect on normal weight people has not been studied before, researchers said.

Measuring obesity and health risk simply by body mass index, or BMI, limits doctors’ awareness of potential health risks because people with normal BMI may have central obesity and suffer some of the health effects of it.

“It’s not just the fat you can see when your ‘spare tire’ rolls over your pant line,” Dr. Daniel Neides, medical director of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinictold media. “But it’s actually the fat that is deposited within the abdomen and it really covers the organs within the abdominal cavity.”

Researchers in the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed data on 15,184 adults between the ages of 18 and 90, and a little more than half of whom were women, collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study.

They compared the relationship of obesity measured by BMI and waist-to-hip ratio with total and cardiovascular death risk, finding that men with normal BMI and a fat belly had an 87 percent higher risk of death than men with the same BMI and normal waist-to-hip ratio. In women, those with fat bellies and a normal BMI had a 48 percent greater death risk than those with normal BMI and normal belly fat.