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Excess Weight Ups Risk of Death, No Matter Where It Collects
Date:11/12/2008

But too much abdominal fat poses a bigger threat, study finds,,,,

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Whether you're shaped like an apple or a pear, if you're overweight, you have a higher risk of dying than someone of normal weight, a new European study says.

But, those who tend to collect their weight around the middle -- apple-shaped -- face an even higher risk of death than those whose excess weight tends to settle in their hips and thighs -- pear-shaped.

"We found that a large waist circumference is related to a higher risk of death even for individuals who have the same BMI [body mass index, a ratio of weight to height]," said the study's lead author, Dr. Tobias Pischon, of the German Institute of Human Nutrition. "Therefore, you could say that adipose [fat] accumulation in the abdominal region is even more detrimental than just having an elevated BMI level," he added.

Previous research had linked abdominal fat with a higher risk of chronic diseases. But past research generally hadn't assessed the risk of death in those who were overweight and those who were overweight with more abdominal fat, according to background information in the study.

The new research, published in the Nov. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, included almost 360,000 people from nine European countries who were part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

In addition to weight information and whether or not the study participants had died, the researchers also adjusted the data for education level, smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity and height.

During a follow-up period of almost 10 years, slightly less than 15,000 people enrolled in the study had died.

Those with the lowest risk of death were men with a BMI of 25.3 and women with a BMI of 24.3. A body mass index between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, and a
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