Research casts doubt on obesity heart risk

11 March 2011

New research has cast doubt on the impact of obesity on a person's heart health.

According to a new study published in the Lancet, the risk a person will suffer a heart attack is not increased by fat being concentrated around the midriff.

The research contradicts earlier studies that show that people with "apple shape" bodies are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

However, the researchers were quick to remind people that obesity is bad for heart health regardless of where the excess fat is stored on the body.

Professor John Danesh from Cambridge University said the increasingly popular body shape measurement - which compares waist and hip ratios - had no predictive properties when it came to cardiovascular disease.

Body shape has been thrust in the spotlight by celebrity fashion presenters like Gok Wan - but their health implications appear to be limited.

Professor Danesh said: "Body-mass index, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio do not improve prediction of first-onset cardiovascular disease when additional information exists on blood pressure, history of diabetes, and cholesterol measures."

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Danesh, John et al. "Separate and combined associations of body-mass index and abdominal adiposity with cardiovascular disease: collaborative analysis of 58 prospective studies". The Lancet. Thursday, March 11th 2011.

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