Even if someone is not obese, too much fat in the abdomen could harm his heart, researchers say. Dr. Jose Medina-Inojosa said that people with normal weight but obesity obese have more chance of heart problems than people without, even if they are obese according to the BMI.
The survey included 1,700 people aged 45 and over who were followed from 2000 to 2016. Those who had normal BMI but high levels of abdominal fat were about twice as likely to undergo a heart attack, undergo methods of opening blocked arteries or die from heart problems compared to people without abdominal fat.
The findings were presented at the conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Ljubljana.
The investigator said that if someone has fat around the waist and is larger than the size of the hips, he should visit the doctor to assess the risk of cardiovascular health and fat distribution. If he has central obesity, the goal is to lose the waist circumference rather than lose weight.
Medina-Inojosa added that doctors should not assume that people with normal BMI have no risk of heart problems.
He noted that new research provides evidence that doctors should also measure central obesity to have a better picture of whether a patient is at risk.