Pot bellies increase risk of heart disease and cancer

12 July 2013

Having a pot belly puts individuals at increased risk of cancer and heart disease, according to US researchers. A new study suggests excess baggage around the midriff is the most dangerous place for fat to be stored.

The new healthcare research used CT scans to investigate disease risk of fat deposits based on their location. Experts looked at three specific areas - the stomach, around the aortic artery and the heart tissue. A paunch around the midsection, sometimes called a spare tyre, has been found to store more ectopic fat, or fat where it’s not supposed to be, than anywhere else on the body.

Lead researcher Dr Caroline Fox said: “Contrary to previously published studies comparing BMI and waist circumference, the presence of abdominal fat improved the ability to predict for cardiovascular disease, supporting the hypothesis abdominal fat may partially underlie the association of body fat and heart disease and cancer.”

Study co-author Dr Kathryn Britton from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston added: “Given the worldwide obesity epidemic, identification of high-risk individuals is important as it allows targeting of preventative and therapeutic measures.”

Procedures like gastric band surgery can help high-risk individuals lose excess weight around their core and throughout the rest of their body.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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