Thursday, November 13, 2008

Study: Large waist almost doubles premature death risk

Share this history on :

Having a large waistline can almost double your risk of dying prematurely even if your body mass index is within the "normal" range, according to a new study of over 350,000 people across Europe, published Wednesday in the U.S. magazine New England Journal of Medicine. (File Photo)

(Xinhua) The study provides strong evidence that storing excess fat around the waist poses a significant health risk, even in people not considered to be overweight or obese. It suggests that doctors should measure a patient's waistline and their hips as well as their body mass index as part of standard health checks, according to the researchers, from Imperial College London, the German Institute of Human Nutrition, and other research institutions across Europe.

Comparing subjects with the same body mass index, the risk of premature death increased in a linear fashion as the waist circumference increased. The risk of premature death was around double for subjects with a larger waist (more than 120 cm for men and more than 100 cm for women) compared to subjects with a smaller waist (less than 80 cm for men and less than 65 cm for women). Body mass index is commonly used to assess if a person is of "normal" weight.

Each 5 cm increase in waist circumference increased the mortality risk by 17 percent in men and 13 percent in women, according to the study.

An increased risk of mortality may be particularly related to storing fat around the waistline because fatty tissue in this areasecretes cytokines, hormones and metabolically active compounds that can contribute to the development of chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases and cancers, suggest the authors.

Tobias Pischon, the lead author of the paper, said "The most important result of our study is the finding that not just being overweight, but also the distribution of body fat, affects the risk of premature death of each individual."

No comments: