Belly Fat Is Bad Despite BMI Level

belly fat is bad

A study by the Mayo Clinci shows that belly fat is bad, even for those who are within a healthy BMI range. It can lead to premature death, and women with bellies that are at least 34 inches and men with bellies measuring at least 40 inches are most at risk.

The research was published in Annals of Internal Medicine. Stomach fat is linked to inflammation, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Author of another study on the subject, Dr. Paul Poirier, says that having belly fat is much worse than having fat anywhere else in the body, even when the BMI levels are in a healthy range. Women with bellies over 34 inches and men with bellies over 40 inches are obese.

Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez led the Mayo Clinic study, using data from a national survey that compared premature death in more than 15,000 adults. Those with a normal BMI but with extra stomach fat had the worst rate of long-term survival compared to those with normal belly fat measurements. Men with a normal BMI but bigger bellies had worse statistics than women in the same category. Men were 87 percent more likely to die than men without the belly fat. Those who had extra belly fat were also twice as more likely to die compared to men overweight or obese men according to BMI. The waist size was not specified for this part of the data. Women were twice as likely to die if they had bigger bellies than their slimmer counterparts within a healthy BMI range. Normal weight women were also 32 percent more likely to die than obese women according to BMI information.

belly fat is bad

While this information can be helpful, scientists need to understand why some people have larger bellies, despite being within the healthy BMI range. Yale University Prevention Research Center director Dr. David Katz says that some people are more prone to collecting fat around their middles than anywhere else. This leads to fat collecting around the vital organs. Some people may have also had illnesses that led to lean body mass dropping. He says he could not tell how many fell into the latter group from the results of the study.

The data from the study highlights the limitations of the BMI scale. It accesses overall fat and helps to highly those who are more at risk of cardiovascular problems, but it does not tell doctors everything. It also takes muscle into account, rather than just fat.

Sources:

U.S. News: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/11/09/belly-fat-is-bad-even-at-a-normal-weight

U.S. National Library of Medicine: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155606.html

Image: taniadimas / Pixabay, cocoparisienne / Pixabay


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