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OBESITY and heart risk: Rather apple-shaped or pear-shaped?

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Overweight women with an apple-shaped figure, that is to say with abdominal fat, also have an increased risk of heart attack, compared to women with a pear-shaped figure, shows this study of Oxford University. Data obtained on a very large sample, published in the Journal of American Heart Association, which suggests also take into account the distribution of body fat and in particular central adiposity, to estimate the cardiac risk in the event of high BMI.

The team here looked at the links between increased body fat levels and heart attack risk, using data from nearly 500,000 adults aged 40 to 69 (265,988 women and 213,622 men, with no history of the disease. cardiovascular), with an average BMI of 27 and participating in the British Biobank study. Specifically, the researchers took into account 7 years of data including waist circumference, hip circumference, height, weight, BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-waist ratio (waist circumference by waist standing). The researchers also took into account possible confounding factors (age, income level, smoking, etc.). During these years of follow-up, 5,710 cases of heart attack (20% in women) were recorded; The analysis reveals that:

  • a larger waist circumference compared to the hips is linked to an increased risk of a heart attack  ;
  • this correlation is stronger than between the BMI and the risk of a heart attack;
  • women with a waist circumference> average have an increased risk of heart attack vs. men with a waist circumference> average.
  • the greater waist-to-hip ratio is most strongly associated with the risk of a heart attack. This is again particularly the case with women.

Thus, it should be remembered that compared to the body mass index, measurements of central or abdominal adiposity can be a better indicator of the risk of myocardial infarction and that women with high central adiposity have a higher risk of infarction. to that of men.

So, while weight control is paramount for heart health, it is not the only factor.