A study of a group of menopausal women found that cardiovascular risk was associated with body fat accumulation.
Studies have shown that body mass index (BMI), calculated on the basis of total weight and height, is associated with the risk of cardiovascular events.
The higher a person’s BMI, the greater the risk of stroke, heart disease, and similar events and conditions.
New research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and other institutions points to another potential factor, namely where fat builds upon the body.
A new study published in the European Heart Journal studies 161,808 women aged 50-79 to determine if BMI or fat distribution is associated with cardiovascular risk.
All participants were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative.
Subsequent health information was available from 1999 until the end of February 2017
However, throughout the study, 291 new cases of cardiovascular disease were reported.
The question is in the form of the body
In the study, researchers measured adipose tissue in the body by dual-energy x-ray absorption, a type of scan that assessed human fat, muscle, and bone density. The team found a model.
Women with the highest percentage of fat around the abdomen and hips, giving them an apple-shaped body, had the highest risk of cardiovascular disease.
These women were more than three times more likely to have cardiovascular disease than their peers with a low-fat percentage around their belly and a higher fat percentage on their feet, a pear-shaped body.
However, bodyweight does not seem to weigh that risk.
Our results show that postmenopausal women, although they are of normal weight, may have a different risk of cardiovascular disease due to the different fat distribution around their waist or legs.
In addition to general weight control, people may also need to pay attention to their regional fats, even those who have normal BMI, ”says lead author Dr. Qibin Qi.
In addition, researchers say that only reducing the amount of body fat can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers estimate that about 6 in 1,000 participants a year can prevent cardiovascular disease.
Among 1,000 women who have increased fatty tissue between 42 and 49%, about three cases of cardiovascular disease a year can be prevented, the researchers found.
Need for better results
However, Dr. Qi warns that this information may not be relevant to everyone.
It is important to note that the participants in our study were postmenopausal women who had relatively more body fat in the waist and legs.
Whether the association model can be generalized to younger women and men who have relatively lower levels of fat in the region is still unclear, ”says Dr. Qi.
At the same time, researchers believe that their current findings justify the use of measurements, different from BMI when considering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“In routine clinical practice, BMI is a common approach for assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease, but usually only for people with BMI between 25 and 34.9,” explains Dr. Qi.
“Some people who are categorized as normal weight, may not be recognized as at increased risk of cardiovascular disease due to the distribution of body fat, and therefore preventive measures are not recommended.
Our findings highlight the need to use anthropometric measures that better reflect the regional distribution of fat to identify an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
These are important research directions for future human research, ”says Dr. Qi.