A Big Belly Bad for Your Heart

A Big Belly Bad for Your Heart

Even if you're not obese, too much belly fat could harm your ticker, researchers report.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

"People with a normal weight but a fat belly have more chance of heart problems than people without a fat belly, even if they are obese according to BMI [body mass index]," said study author Dr. Jose Medina-Inojosa. He's with the Mayo Clinic's division of preventive cardiology, in Rochester, Minn.

The study included 1,700 people who were aged 45 and older at the time of enrollment and were followed from 2000 to 2016.

Those with a normal BMI (an estimate of overall body fat based on height and weight) but high levels of belly fat were about twice as likely to have a heart attack, procedures to open blocked arteries, or to die from heart problems during the follow-up than people without belly fat.

The findings were to be presented Friday at a European Society of Cardiology meeting, in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"The belly is usually the first place we deposit fat, so people classified as overweight BMI but without a fat belly probably have more muscle, which is good for health," Medina-Inojosa explained in a meeting news release. "Muscle is like a metabolic storehouse and helps decrease lipid [fat] and sugar levels in the blood.

"If you have fat around your belly and it's greater than the size of your hips, visit your doctor to assess your cardiovascular health and fat distribution," he said. "If you have central obesity [belly fat], the target will be waist loss rather than weight loss."

Medina-Inojosa offered some belly-busting suggestions.

"Exercise more, decrease sedentary time by taking the stairs or getting off the train one stop early and walking, increase your muscle mass with strength and resistance training, and cut out refined carbohydrates," he advised.

He added that doctors shouldn't assume that people with a normal BMI are not at risk of heart problems.

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

"Our study provides evidence that doctors should also measure central obesity [belly fat] to get a better picture of whether a patient is at risk," Medina-Inojosa said.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to a healthy heart.


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

Study Finds Tdap Vaccination for Pregnant Women Does Not Increase Risk of Autism
Study Finds Tdap Vaccination for Pregnant Women Does Not Increase Risk of Autism

A Kaiser Permanente study of more than 80,000 children born over a 4-year period...

Read more
Herpesvirus May Lead to Bipolar, Depression
Herpesvirus May Lead to Bipolar, Depression

Scientists have discovered the human herpesvirus HHV-6 in the neurons of people ...

Read more
Treating Teen Depression Might Improve Mental Health Of Parents, Too
Treating Teen Depression Might Improve Mental Health Of Parents, Too

An estimated 12.8 percent of adolescents in the U.S. experience at least one epi...

Read more
'I Am Happy and Confident': Woman Loses 140 Pounds by Making One Change at a Time
'I Am Happy and Confident': Woman Loses 140 Pounds by Making One Change at a Time

After graduating from college, Laura Morgan watched as her friends traveled, wen...

Read more
With Short, Intense Sessions, Some Patients Finish Therapy in Just Weeks
With Short, Intense Sessions, Some Patients Finish Therapy in Just Weeks

Six middle- and high-school students sat around a table on a Monday afternoon, w...

Read more
Parents of Premature Babies Face a Further Trauma - PTSD
Parents of Premature Babies Face a Further Trauma - PTSD

Suzanne Ruart's son Aiden spent three months in a neonatal unit as a result of b...

Read more