Obesity treatment could be needed by people suffering from coronary artery disease who tend to put weight on around their stomach.
According to research from the Mayo Clinic, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people with belly fat and coronary artery disease are twice as likely to die as those who tend to put on weight elsewhere.
Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, lead investigator of the project, commented: "Visceral fat has been found to be more metabolically active. It produces more changes in cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
"However, people who have fat mostly in other locations in the body, specifically, the legs and buttocks, don't show this increased risk."
The research team looked at data from nearly 16,000 people involved in five studies around the world and confirmed that 'central obesity' increased the risk of death.
According to the researchers, physicians should consider counselling coronary artery disease patients with normal body mass indexes to lose weight if they have a large waist circumference or a high waist-to-hip ratio