A study by the Mayo Clinic presented at the 2012 European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich August 27, showed that normal weight people with belly fat have a higher risk of death than obese people. The study looked at the BMI (weight in kg / height in m squared) and waist/hip ratios of 12,785 adult Americans. Those with normal BMI but with central obesity (high waist/hip ratio) had the highest risk of cardiovascular death (2.75x) and of death from all causes (2.08x) compared with those with normal BMI and normal waist/hip ratios.
Why should this be? Visceral (belly) fat around the organs is associated with increased insulin resistance. And as I’ve discussed many times, insulin resistance is the common factor in the symptoms of metabolic syndrome: high blood pressure, high blood lipids, and diabetes.
What this study shows is that while BMI is an important risk factor of cardiovascular death (think heart attacks), having a “beer belly” is even more significant. If you have a high BMI you need to do something about it – lose fat, gain muscle, or both. But even if your BMI is normal and you have a high waist/hip ratio, you still need to do something. What is considered a high waist-hip ratio? For men a ratio below 0.85 is considered “excellent” and over 0.95 “at risk”; for women it’s 0.75 and 0.86 respectively. See Dr. Mercola's article for a more detailed table and a height:waist table. I’m just finishing 9 weeks on the Ideal Protein Diet and my ratio is 0.86 (it was 0.94 before I started). My Body Fat %, as measured on the Body Composition Analyzer (a more accurate measurement than BMI), is 22.5 which puts me in the middle of the “Acceptable” range. To improve it further (the “Fitness” level for men is 14-18%) I now need to work at building muscle.
If you would like to know what your Body Fat % is, I am offering free readings at the Ideal Protein information meeting tonight (Monday November 19) starting at 7:00 pm. If you missed it, just stop in any time and ask for a free BCA reading.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.