Belly Fat Harmful to Health

August 10, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Belly fat means an increased risk of death, according to a study by the American Cancer Society. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)
Belly fat means an increased risk of death, according to a study by the American Cancer Society. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)
Larger waistlines mean increased risk of death, according to a study undertaken by the American Cancer Society (ACS). Led by a strategic director of the society, Dr. Eric J. Jacobs, the study tested more than 100,000 people, over age 50, during a period of nine years.

The study involved observing how larger waistlines could increase death risk. The researchers compared the largest waist circumferences (47 or more inches for men, 42 or more inches for women) with the smallest, which were 35 inches for men and 30 for women. They discovered “a pattern showing that expanding waist size was linked to a greater risk of dying regardless of body weight,” said Jacobs. “Similarly, people with the smallest waist sizes had the lowest risk.”

By the end of their study in 2006, 14,647 people had died. The reason belly fat was so hazardous was that visceral fat (“fat tissue in the abdomen, the most dangerous kind,” said the director in an ACS report) restricts blood vessels, according to an upcoming Aug. 17 report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The Journal also mentioned that the acid in visceral fat is harmful to the liver. In past finds, people with larger waist circumference were more susceptible to respiratory problems, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.

References:

ACS report: Cancer.org/Cancer/news/News/larger-waist-size-increases-health-risks
Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/56/8/662