Abdominal fat: why you should be wary of fat that settles in the belly

Taking 10 centimeters off the waistline increases the risk of death by 8%, according to a new study. Researchers explain why excess belly fat may be associated with a risk of early death.

Abdominal fat: why you should be wary of fat that settles in the belly
abdominal fat

We know that overweight and obesity increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and even cardiovascular disease. But what is less known is that the amount of abdominal fat is crucial. This is what a new study published in the British Medical Journal reveals.

Abdominal fat: it would increase the risk of premature death

The authors of this work analyzed 72 studies involving more than 2.5 million participants who were followed over a period of 3 to 24 years. They found that excess belly fat was associated with a higher risk of early death from any cause and regardless of the amount of overall body fat.

The study found that in women, every 10-centimeter increase in waist circumference could increase the risk of death by 8%. For men, taking 10 centimeters in the waistline could increase the risk of death by 12%. However, a large hip and thigh circumference was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Measuring abdominal fat to assess the risk of premature death?

Part of the reason excess abdominal fat seems so dangerous because it is correlated with what is called visceral fat. This type of fat located in the belly is different from that found in the small bulge. And for good reason: it is deep and settles around the organs. Ultimately, it can therefore alter their functioning.

This study, which points to the risks associated with excess belly fat, suggests that "belly fat measurements could be used as an additional approach, in combination with body mass index (BMI) ), to determine the risk of premature death, ”the authors conclude.

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