Want a beer with that? Or an extra slice? Unfortunately, maybe next time the answer will be, no thanks.
A new study has found that carrying extra fat around your middle, or having a beer belly if you are of normal weight, is more dangerous for you than being generally obese.
The New York Times reported that, for some reason, some people who are obese seem to be protected against getting heart disease, if their fat is distributed evenly over the body. But those who carry around extra weight on their waste, around their central organs but not elsewhere on their body, are more than twice as likely to die from fat-related complications.
“People with normal weight according to B.M.I. can’t be reassured that they don’t have any fat-related health issues,” said the senior author of the study, Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “Having a normal weight is not enough. It’s good only if the distribution of fat is healthy.”
The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine and looked at data gathered on 15,184 men and women older than 18 who were examined at mobile examination centers.
Researchers followed participants for an average of more than 14 years to track their health. 1,404 deaths from cardiovascular diseases occurred during this time and it was found that the association of waist-to-hip ratio with increased risk of complications persisted even after controlling for smoking, history of heart attack or diabetes, race, poverty, blood lipid levels and other factors that might effect participants cardiovascular health.
The new study found that a man of normal B.M.I. (body mass index) with a big beer belly has an 87 percent higher risk of death than a man with the same B.M.I. but a normal waist-to-hip ratio.
For women, the study noted that females with extra round middles and a normal B.M.I. have a 48 percent higher risk of death when compared with women who have a normal B.M.I. an average amount of belly fat.
How to combat the bulge? Among other things, fruit and exercise. Reach for a piece late at night and one for breakfast and go for a walk while you munch.