New research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology urges patients with fat around the waist to try to lose weight, after researchers from The Mayo Clinic team in the USA showed that people with coronary artery disease have an increased risk of death if they have fat around the waist.
The study analysed data from 15,923 patients. Researchers reviewed hip and waist measurements to see how much fat each patient was carrying around the tummy, as well as BMI which is a statistical function of a patient’s comparing height and weight. UK guidelines state that a healthy BMI is between 20-25.
The study found:
- 75% increased risk of mortality for coronory heart disease patients with high levels of fat around the waist
- Even coronory patients with a normal BMI had increased risk of death if they had excess fat around the waist
Dr Thais Coutinho, from the Mayo Clinic, said: “BMI is just a measure of weight in proportion to height. What seems to be more important is how the fat is distributed on the body.”Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows that abdominal obesity is the major risk factor for patients with coronary heart disease even if they have a normal BMI and are a healthy weight. The study only looked at patients with coronary heart disease, but it confirms the idea that abdominal fat is ‘toxic’ and is associated with a number of other risk factors for the disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.“It can be confusing to hear that raised BMI is bad for you and then to hear that waist circumference is the important measure, rather than BMI. I would advise that your BMI should generally be between 20 and 25 and if you have heart disease you need to be extra vigilant if you are carrying excess weight on your waist.”
The Hospital Group is the UK’s leading provider of gastric bands and weight loss surgery.
A spokesperson said: “This new research adds further impetus to encourage patients to achieve a healthy weight.Excess weight has been connected with a range of co-morbidities, from heart disease to diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnoea to name but a few. However, a statistic as high as 75% increased mortality for coronory heart disease patients with excess fat around the middle is quite shocking. Our bariatric surgeons have helped thousands of patients to improve their health as well as their body shape through weight loss surgery. Many of our patients do come to us with a variety of health issues, but as the weight is lost many of the conditions that they had suffered do ease or even disappear. Our approach of including 2 years aftercare with one-to-one dietitian support has been proven highly effective and 99% of our gastric band patients succeed in losing weight.”
The Hospital Group offers consultations with expert bariatric surgeons with no obligation in clinics around the country. Their website also includes a useful BMI calculator and advice on what sort of procedure may be appropriate for patients whose BMI is over the recommended healthy zone.