A new research conducted by a group of scientist supported by The National Institutes of Health, reveals that carrying fat around the middle body area is more dangerous than general obesity. The results of the investigations were published in Annals of Internal Medicine on November 12th.

The study analyzed the health records of 15,184 people aged between 18 and 90, for a total of 14 years. The results showed that the death rate among men with normal body mass index (BMI) but with bigger bellies, was twice the rate for men who were obese. The results for the opposite sex were slightly smaller but generally the same. In their case, women with normal body weight but higher belly had 32 percent more risk of dying, compared to obese women.

The study reveals that having too much visceral fat may be more dangerous than obesity. Credit: Activeonegroup.com

This means that even though fat is always harmful to your health, those who have a normal weight, but an excess of visceral fat, are more likely to suffer from deadly illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some types of cancers.

Researchers explained in their study that the locations of the fat on the body can adversely affect people’s health. There are two types of belly fat: visceral and subcutaneous. Subcutaneous belly fat is above the abdominal muscle. However, the visceral fat, which deposits around the belly, is the harmful one. This may represent a problem because BMI does not measure where body fat is located. Because of this, most physicians agree that both MBI and waist circumference must be the measure to appropriately classify a health condition related to obesity.

“Although assessing for total fat mass with BMI to identify patients at greater cardiovascular risk is a good start, it is not sufficient,” researchers said.

Visceral fat seems to be especially unhealthy for a reason. Because of its proximity, it is often deposited on the liver where it may lead to diabetes and heart disease, scientists explained.

The general recommendation doctor gives to those with a belly fat is to have an active lifestyle. Dr. Samuel Klein, director of the center for human Nutrition encourages people to lose their belly weight. He said although it might seem impossible to lose weight, especially around the waist, it is possible with a serious of mini-moves exercises.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine