Belly fat is strongly related with heart disease risk, shows research

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belly fat

It is known that overweight can harm our wellbeing and cause lots of diseases. Among various types of overweight, increasing stomach fat, in particular the “hidden fat” in the abdomen (belly fat), is the most harmful.

In a recent study, researchers show that abdominal fat is strongly associated with heart disease risk. The finding is newly published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the USA, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted the study.

They focused on how changes in abdominal fat amount and density were associated with changes in heart disease risk factors.

The study collected data in 1,106 participants from the Framingham Heart Study Third Generation cohort study. The cohort study explores genetic and environmental risk factors related to the development of heart, lung, and blood diseases.

All participants completed two CT scans of their abdominal fat. They were followed for 6.1 years after that.

Researchers found that during the following-up, the mean fat amount increased for two types of abdominal fat while the mean fat density decreased for the two abdominal fat.

An increase in fat amount and decrease in fat density were associated with changes in heart disease risk. In addition, each additional pound of fat was associated with higher risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides (a high level of fat in the blood) and metabolic syndrome.

When researchers controlled the influences of BMI change and waist circumference change, they still observed the strong associations.

Researchers suggest that increasing fat amount and decreasing fat density in the abdomen are related to higher heart disease risk.

In addition, information about the location and type of fat deposits in the body can help identify the risk of heart disease. The information is more helpful than a single BMI number.


Citation: Lee JJ, et al. (2016). Association of Changes in Abdominal Fat Quantity and Quality with Incident Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, published online. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.06.067.
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