A new survey finds that many Canadians are not aware that excess abdominal fat raises the risk of heart disease This was the main finding in the Shape of the Nations survey, which quizzed more than 11,000 people in 27 countries.
The survey found that only about 20 percent of the people are aware of the term known as "cardiometabolic risk," which includes smoking, higher levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Nine of Ten Canadians are unaware that abdominal fat is a factor in heart disease.
Dr. Rick Ward, a family physician in Calgary told the Calgary Sun that he was not surprised by the findings. "They're not thinking of the impact on their heart -- they're thinking more of the impact on how I, the patient, look," said Ward. "The concerning part is ...the relative underimportance that people are putting on abdominal obesity as a unique cardiovascular risk factor."
Worryingly only 35 percent of doctors recognized abdominal fat as a risk factor, the survey said. But Dr Ward said that many doctors were now recognizing its importance and were measuring waist circumference as well. "I think we're working in the right direction," he said.