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Pot bellies linked to early signs of cardiovascular disease
Date:8/13/2007

ed hardening of the arteries, and can be detected years before a person experiences chest pain or has a heart attack. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to look for early signs of atherosclerosis in the walls of the aorta.

Researchers then examined the relationship between body shape and early signs of arterial disease. They found that the likelihood of calcium being found in the arteries of the heart grew in direct proportion to increases in the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). In addition, when they divided the WHR into five groups from smallest to largest, they found that people with the largest WHR were nearly twice as likely to have calcium deposits in their coronary arteries as those with the smallest WHR. The likelihood of atherosclerotic plaque in the aorta was three times as high in those with the largest WHR as compared to the smallest.

The relationship between WHR and arterial plaque remained strong even after other risk factors, such as blood pressure, diabetes, age, smoking and high cholesterol levels were taken into account.

Middle-aged spread is not healthy, Dr. de Lemos said. We dont have to clean our plates. Its better to throw food out than add it to our waists.

Using the waist-to-hip measurement to gauge cardiovascular risk has certain clinical advantages, said Raimund Erbel, M.D., West German Heart Center Essen. The WHR can be easily measured, taking only a few moments and giving more precise information on the presence of coronary artery calcium than BMI or waist circumference, Dr. Erbel said. In addition, although BMI is used more often, it does not identify patients with central obesity, which seems to be related to the metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and abnormal cholesterol levels. However, most important is that other measures of obesity did not discriminate beyond traditional risk factors, whereas WHR did.

The results are most astonishing and may be influenced by the age distribution of
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Contact: Amy Murphy
amurphy@acc.org
202-375-6476
American College of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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