People with the largest waists and hips combined are twice as likely to be affected with midriff bulge as those with measurements in the normal range, claim scientists.
A new study has linked midriff bulge to heightened risk of sudden, often fatal, heart malfunction.
Obesity has long been associated with various unfavourable changes in cardiovascular health, including Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). But the researchers wanted to find out if a persistent midriff bulge may carry a greater risk of SCD than general obesity as the evidence suggests this body fat distribution may be more dangerous.
During the monitoring period, which averaged 12.5 years, 253 SCDs occurred. Those affected were in their mid-fifties, on average; one in three was female; and four out of 10 were of African American heritage.
Unsurprisingly, those who died suddenly tended to have a higher prevalence of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol and they also had a higher BMI (body mass index), larger waist circumference, and a larger waist to hip ratio-an indicator of central obesity-than those who did not sustain an SCD.
The risk of SCD was associated with general obesity, but only in non-smokers. And of the measures of obesity-BMI, waist circumference, and waist to hip ratio-waist to hip ratio was the most strongly associated with SCD risk after taking account of other influential factors.