More belly weight increases heart disease risk even if BMI doesn't indicate obesity
People with abdominal obesity and excess fat around the body's midsection and organs have an increased risk of heart disease even if their body mass index (BMI) measurement is within a healthy weight range, according to a new Scientific Statement.
Dallas: People with abdominal obesity and excess fat around the body's midsection and organs have an increased risk of heart disease even if their body mass index (BMI) measurement is within a healthy weight range, according to a new Scientific Statement.
The statement was issued by the American Heart Association published today in the Association's flagship journal, Circulation.
"This scientific statement provides the most recent research and information on the relationship between obesity and obesity treatment in coronary heart disease, heart failure and arrhythmias," said Tiffany M. Powell-Wiley, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, chair of the writing committee and a Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator and chief of the Social Determinants of Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk Laboratory in the Division of Intramural Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
"The timing of this information is important because the obesity epidemic contributes significantly to the global burden of cardiovascular disease and numerous chronic health conditions that also impact heart disease," added Powell-Wiley.
A greater understanding of obesity and its impact on cardiovascular health highlights abdominal obesity, sometimes referred to as visceral adipose tissue, or VAT, as a cardiovascular disease risk marker. VAT is commonly determined by waist circumference, the ratio of waist circumference to height (taking body size into account) or waist-to-hip ratio, which has been shown to predict cardiovascular death independent of BMI.
Experts recommend both abdominal measurement and BMI be assessed during regular health care visits because a high waist circumference or low waist-to-hip ratio, even in healthy weight individuals, could mean an increased risk of heart disease. Abdominal obesity is also linked to fat accumulation around the liver that often leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which adds to cardiovascular disease risk.
"Studies that have examined the relationship between abdominal fat and cardiovascular outcomes confirm that visceral fat is a clear health hazard," said Powell-Wiley.
The risk-inducing power of abdominal obesity is so strong that in people who are overweight or have obesity based on BMI, low levels of fat tissue around their midsection and organs could still indicate lower cardiovascular disease risks. This concept, referred to as "metabolically healthy obesity," seems to differ depending on race/ethnicity and sex.(ANI)