Apple-Shapes At No Greater Risk of Heart Attack Than Pear-Shapes


Researchers once believed that people with apple-shaped figures – in other words, those who gained most of their weight in their stomach – were at higher risk of heart disease than people with other types of body figures.  A recent study suggests this may not be the case, reported.In the study, researchers at the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration in the U.K. reviewed records of 58 different trials, involving more than 220,000 participants, and concluded that fat distribution did not affect heart disease risk.

They also found that other measures of obesity, including BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, were all about equally accurate in predicting heart attacks.  Compared to known risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and history of diabetes, obesity measures were found to be poor indicators of heart disease risk.

Previous studies speculated that visceral fat, which tends to accumulate around the midsection, is hazardous to the heart because it settles deep within organs and can pump out hormones that affect insulin sensitivity and promote diabetes.

However, the results from the new study indicate that while fat is an important factor in heart disease, it should not substitute for better, proven-to-work measures such as cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.

The study was published in The Lancet.

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