Belly fat is even more dangerous than obesity?

According to a recently published study, even if people are within the range of healthy weight, extra belly fat significantly increases the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. 

The study was conducted by cardiologist Francisco Lopez-Jimenez at the Mayo clinic and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers have been following more than 15,000 participants for over 14 years.

Normally, overweight and obese patients are considered to be at a higher risk of developing heart problems and dying prematurely, while people with lower BMI not so much. However, according to the results of the study, having extra belly fat is even more dangerous that being overweight.

After analyzing the participants’ health records, the authors of the study came to the conclusion that men who have extra pounds in the waist are up to 50% more likely to die in comparison to overweight men. Women with bigger bellies had 32% increased risk of dying, compared to overweight women.  

There are two main types of fat in the belly region: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is right under the skin and can easily be pinched. It might give you love handles and abdominal pouches, but it is much less likely to harm you.

The visceral fat, on the other hand, is located right around the abdominal organs like the stomach and liver, and is much more dangerous. According to the authors of the study, this deep fat is often left in the liver, where it encourages the production of inflammatory substances and thus contributes to developing of diabetes and heart disease.

People with central obesity and otherwise normal weight should be aware of their health risks. Losing belly fat can be difficult, but is essential for maintaining good health. Changing the diet for a healthier one and leading a more active lifestyle will help with the belly weight loss.