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Being Just FOUR Pounds Overweight Can Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease By 20%

Published on July 2, 2013,

Carrying just four pounds too many can raise your risk of heart disease by a fifth, according to new research. Alarmingly, an increase of only one unit of BMI (body mass index), equivalent to 4 to 12lbs depending on height, made the participants 20 per cent more likely to develop heart failure. This is from the Daily Mail…

English: William Stiger an Overweight young ad...

Overweight young adult male – 205 lbs, 27 BMI, 25% body fat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…obesity also led to higher levels of insulin, higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol and inflammation and more cases of diabetes.

Professor Erik Ingelsson, of Uppsala University, Sweden, said: ‘This knowledge is important, as it strengthens the evidence forceful societal measures need to be taken to counteract the epidemic of obesity and its consequences.’

His team used a new method to investigate the link between weight and cardiovascular disease because, despite previous evidence, it has not been clear whether too much fat was just a marker of another underlying cause.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, was an attempt to determine whether obesity as such is the actual cause or a signal of another lifestyle factor that triggers these diseases.

Dr Tove Fall, also of Uppsala University, said: ‘We knew already obesity and cardiovascular disease often occur together. However, it has been hard to determine whether increased BMI as such is dangerous.

‘In this study we found individuals with gene variants that lead to increased body-mass index (BMI) also had an increased risk of heart failure and diabetes. The risk of developing diabetes was greater than was previously thought.’

The researchers analysed whether a mutation in the FTO gene, which regulates the appetite and increases an individual’s BMI, was also linked to a series of cardiovascular diseases and metabolism.

This risk variant is common in the population, and each copy increases BMI by an average of between 0.3 and 0.4 points.

Since an individual’s genome is not affected by lifestyle and social factors, but rather is established at conception when the embryo randomly receives half of each parent’s genome, the method is called ‘Mendelian randomization’.

To achieve reliable results a large group was required, so almost 200,000 individuals from Europe and Australia were recruited.

Professor Ingelsson said: ‘Epidemiological studies look for associations in large populations, but it is usually difficult to reliably determine cause and effect – what we call causality.

‘By using this new genetic method, Mendelian randomization, in our research we can now confirm what many people have long believed, that increased BMI contributes to the development of heart failure. We also found that being overweight causes increases in liver enzymes. This can lead to liver disease.’

More at: Being just FOUR pounds overweight can increase your risk of heart disease by 20%

This is the original paper: The Role of Adiposity in Cardiometabolic Traits: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis

Waist to height ratio ‘more accurate than BMI’ for predicting disease and life expectancy

Published on May 21, 2013,

The UK’s Telegraph newspaper reports interesting new research that suggests a person’s waist to height ratio is a better predictor of life expectancy than body mass index (BMI), the method widely used by doctors when judging overall health and risk of disease. Potentially this gives a much simpler benchmark for everyone to measure and follow: keep your waist to less than half your height to help add years to your life…

English: On overweight man's waistline.

An overweight man’s waistline. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BMI is calculated as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in metres, but a study found that the simpler measurement of waistline against height produced a more accurate prediction of lifespan.

People with the highest waist-to-height ratio, whose waistlines measured 80 per cent of their height, lived 17 years fewer than average.

Keeping your waist circumference to less than half of your height can help prevent the onset of conditions like stroke, heart disease and diabetes and add years to life, researchers said.

For a 6ft man, this would mean having a waistline smaller than 36in, while a 5ft 4in woman should have a waist size no larger than 32in.

Children in particular could be screened as early as five using the waist-to-height ratio to identify those at greatest risk of obesity and serious health conditions later in life, it was claimed.

Researchers from Oxford Brookes University examined data on patients whose BMI and waist to height ratio were measured in the 1980s.

Twenty years later, death rates among the group were much more closely linked to participants’ earlier waist-to-height ratio than their BMI, suggesting it is a more useful tool for identifying health risks at an early stage.

By comparing the life expectancies of various groups of people at different waist-to-height ratios, they were able to calculate how many years of life were lost as people’s waistlines increased.

For example, a man aged 30 with a waist-to-height ratio of 0.8, representing the largest one in 500 men, stood to lose 16.7 years of life due to their size.

A 50-year-old woman with the same ratio, accounting for about one in 150 women of the same age, would lose 8.2 years of life on average.

Dr Margaret Ashwell, whose previous research has suggested that the waist-to-height ratio could be a better tool than BMI for predicting a range of diseases, presented her findings at the European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool.

Measuring someone’s waist is important because it accounts for levels of central fat which accumulates around the organs and is particularly closely linked to conditions like stroke and heart disease.

She said: “If you are measuring waist-to-height ratio you are getting a much earlier prediction that something is going wrong, and then you can do something about it.

“The beauty is that you can do it in centimetres or inches, it doesn’t matter. We have got increasing evidence that this works very well with children as well, because whilst they grow up their waist is growing but also their height.”

More at:  Waist to height ratio ‘more accurate than BMI’

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