While excess fat in the body exposes one to quite a lot of health-related risks, a recent study showed that about two-thirds of all people at a high risk for a heart attack or stroke have extra belly fat. The researchers of the study presented their data of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) EUROASPIRE V survey at the World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health in Dubai recently.
The study was conducted in 2017-2018 in 78 general practices in 16 primarily European countries. The participants were retrospectively identified using medical records and invited to an interview and clinical examination. Questions were asked about their lifestyle habits such as smoking, diet, physical activity, blood pressure, lipids, and diabetes. Measurements included height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.
“A total of 2,759 participants were interviewed and examined using standardised methods and instruments. Nearly two-thirds (64%) were centrally obese (waist circumference 88 cm or greater for women and 102 cm or higher for men). Some 37% were overweight (body mass index [BMI] 25 to 29.9 kg/m2) and 44% were obese (BMI 30kg/m2or above). Nearly one in five participants (18%) were smokers and just 36% achieved the recommended physical activity level of at least 30 minutes, five times per week” it states.
“The survey shows that large proportions of individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease have unhealthy lifestyle habits and uncontrolled blood pressure, lipids and diabetes,” Kornelia Kotseva, chair of the EUROASPIRE Steering Committee and study co-author.
She continues, “These data make it clear that more efforts must be made to improve cardiovascular prevention in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Our analysis highlights the need for health care systems to invest in prevention.”
Talking about the abnormal distribution of fat in the body, as in the case of belly fat, the study states, “This belly fat is bad for the heart, even in people who are not otherwise overweight or obese.”