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Study Finds Link Between Low IQ, Large Waistline
Date:11/15/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Guys with low IQs may be at higher risk than brainiacs for later weight gain and added heart disease risk, a new study suggests.

Swedish men who had the lowest IQs at about age 18 had higher waist-to-hip ratios at age 40 than their peers who scored higher on those IQ tests. It's known that people with "apple-shaped" bodies, or more weight around the middle, are at higher risk for heart disease than those with "pear-shaped" bodies.

Exactly how or even if IQ during late adolescence affects waist size is not clearly understood, and U.S cardiologists caution that it is too early to draw any meaningful conclusions from the new data. The findings are scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Study author Dr. Jerzy Leppert, a professor at the Center for Clinical Research of Uppsala University in Sweden, said the message is clear. "Present strategies that aim to stop the obesity epidemic should change focus ... and concentrate more on the group most likely to benefit, i.e. those with low IQ," Leppert said.

Of 34,400 people who took part in a health survey that measured waist-to-hip ratio on or around their 40th or 50th birthday, about 5,400 men had also taken an IQ test when they were about 18. IQ tests are mandated in Sweden. Men who had the lowest IQs as older teens had the highest waist-to-hip ratios at age 40, the study showed. By contrast, those who scored highest on the IQ tests had the lowest waist-to-hip ratios at age 40.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said if the study is validated, doctors and other health educators may need to alter their approach to prevention.

"People who have a lower IQ may be less educated and have less of an understanding about how to eat healthy," she said. "We need to educate al
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