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Big belly - danger awaits you!



If your belly enters the room before you do, you're headed straight for cardiovascular trouble, according to a recent study. As scientists continue to research predictors of potential cardiovascular disease risk that are more accurate than body mass index (BMI), Dr. Carlos Iribarren of the Kaiser Permanente of North Carolina and her colleagues investigated whether abdominal obesity was more severe than general obesity. They wanted to understand the link between the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and abdominal sagittal diameter (a marker of intra-visceral fatness). The abdominal sagittal diameter represents the distance between the back and the upper part of the abdomen, halfway between the upper pelvis and the lower ribs; the researchers measured the subjects' abdominal sagittal diameter while they were standing.

They studied the records of 101,765 Kaiser Permanente male and female patients who underwent routine examinations between 1965 and 1970. The patients were then followed for 12 years. They were divided into four groups, based on abdominal sagittal diameter, rate of cardiovascular disease adjusted for age, race, BMI, education level, smoking, alcohol consumption and, in females. , taking replacement hormones.

The results, published in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, showed that the most plump men - those in the group with the largest abdominal sagittal diameter - had a 42% increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those in the group comprising the thinnest subjects. Among women, those in the group with the largest abdominal sagittal diameter had a 44% increased risk compared to those in the slimmest group of women.

The authors concluded that the abdominal sagittal diameter measured while standing was a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, independent of BMI. However, when paired with BMI, the authors predict an incremental increase in disease risk as BMI increases.

Previous studies also suggested that the waist-to-hip ratio was a better predictor of cardiovascular risk than BMI.