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Originally published November 24 2008

The Risks of Excess Belly Fat

by Phoebe Kerr

(NaturalNews) You are already familiar with the health benefits of keeping your weight in check, but are you aware of the possible health risks associated with having belly fat? A recent study conducted by the German Institute of Human Nutrition and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people with a higher waist-to-hip ratio or waist circumference were at higher risk of death. This study took into account any lifestyle choices (smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and height) made by the participant, education level, study center and age when recruited. They used this information to create models that were stratified. Stratification is an analytical approach permitting the effectiveness of the differing pools of data to be compared within each stratum.

The study was conducted using 359,387 participants over approximately a 10 year period. Initial information acquired included BMI (Body Mass Index) and the location of the excess weight (obtained from the initial BMI) on the body. The age range of the participants was from 25 to 70 years old and they came from nine different European countries. At the end of the 10 year study it was determined how many of the participants were deceased; 14,723 people had died since the study began.

It was noted that the risk of death was at its lowest when the BMI was at 25.3 and 24.3 for men and women respectively. The risk of death increased as the BMI fell below these levels or rose above them. After the adjustments were made for BMI it was noted that the waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio played a significant role in the risk of death. It appears that the belly fat could be implicated in the risk of death. There were also social/class implications discovered; those individuals with a higher BMI were more likely to older with lower levels of education and generally no longer smoking. An interesting twist was that BMI levels were higher among participants who did not currently or had never smoked than it was for current and former smokers. The association between risk of death and hip-to-waist ratio/waist circumference had a tendency to be a small amount stronger among participants who were current smokers.

For some, belly fat is something that is never taken lightly, for others it is overlooked, especially if you are not overweight. Based on the information revealed in this study it is shown that even those in comparatively good health could fall victim of their belly fat. As the holidays creep up on us, don't resolve to start "dieting" in the new year. Be conscious of what you put into your body especially if you expect to receive many years of health and longevity out of your body. Maintaining a healthy BMI and keeping yourself slim around the edges is proving to be a good preventative measure.


About the author

Phoebe Kerr is a mom, and a writer and researcher in her spare time. Nap time is when she reads and does the homework on whatever class she is taking that month. A majority of her researching pertains to her life experience at that given time. Her extensive knowledge and resources range from animal nutrition to alternative healing modalities such as homeopathy and herbalism to alternative child rearing.
Phoebe has always been drawn to the natural world. Growing up in a rural town in Vermont gave her a deep seated love and respect for nature and the natural world. She attended university for Biology but in 2005 after starting her graduate studies in Agriculture had a large upheaval and her life took a different path. Her father-in-law was diagnosed with ALS resulting in the relocation of her and her partner to be close to his family. That was when her passion for healing the body was ignited. Since that time, her father-in-law has passed, but her desire for knowledge and helping others through education or hands on healing of loved ones had just begun to unfold.

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