Important news on body shape and heart disease risks. Having an apple shaped body, so called because the weight settles in your mid section, is common in stressed men, though women too are prone to this shape at midlife, after menopause.
The risk of heart attack from having this body shape isn’t tied to increased heart attack risk as previously thought according to a new study.
This is a direct contradiction to earlier research that concluded people who were overweight with apple shapes had three times the risk of a heart attack than those who had their fat distributed more evenly about the body.
This latest study included a respectable sample size, 220,000 subjects who were followed for a period of nearly ten years. Weight, hip, waist, blood pressure, cholesterol numbers and other key health data were collected for these subjects, who all had no history of heart disease.
During the study, 14,000 participants had either a heart attack or stroke.
The findings of the nearly 200 scientists who took part in the research were that the three methods of measuring of weight – BMI, waist-to-hip, and waist circumference – indicated a risk of heart attack or stroke, but that weight measurement alone isn’t able to improve a doctor’s prediction of heart trouble when additional warning signs, like increased blood pressure, a history of diabetes or higher than normal cholesterol numbers, can also be used.
In other words, the distribution of the fat on the body doesn’t impact heart attack risk.
The study authors are convinced the issue is more one of confusion over the most effective way to measure weight. He believes that the findings of the work will help guide health care professionals through the different recommendations for evaluating weight out there.
There certainly are lots of ways to put a number to the body you see in the mirror. BMI, the most common measure of weight, is a calculation that involves both weight and height. The waist-to-hip ratio compares the distance about the waist and hips to get an accurate picture of central obesity. Others have suggested we use waist measurement on its own.
Still, method of measurement aside, carrying too much weight isn’t good for your heart. It can also lead to other illnesses – about 60% of type 2 diabetes cases and 10% of heart cases can be tied to too much body fat. Up to six types of cancers are also associated with obesity. And with the ever-increasing numbers of obese people out there, the consequences of all those pounds are sure to be felt around the world.
The measurements, whichever one you choose, are a great reality check. Experts know that people typically underestimate their body shape and size – a quick, easy measurement is one way to show you, in black and white, just where you stand.
If you’re worried about your heart health, ask your doctor for an assessment of your heart health that looks at all your cardiovascular risk factors as well as offering practical advice on what you can do to lower what risk you have.
The best way to address those extra pounds, no matter if you have an hourglass, pear or apple shaped body, is with a sensible diet and exercise program. Doing all you can to manage your stress levels is also a surprisingly effective way to help you achieve the goal of a strong, healthy heart and reduce heart disease risks.