Belly Fat Matters More than BMI When Determining Your Heart Disease Risks

For a while, I've been warning you body mass index (BMI) -- a number based on your weight and height -- may be a far less accurate barometer of your health than you think, as athletes and patients who are completely out of shape may have similar scores. When it comes to obesity, however, experts are beginning to believe the measurement of belly fat matters even more.

Researchers reviewed the health statistics of more than 100,000 patients, based on measuring their sagittal abdominal diameter (the distance from the back to the upper abdomen midway between the top of the pelvis and the bottom of the ribs), to determine if it was a more accurate indicator of heart disease.

Both male and female patients with the largest measurements of belly fat increased their chances of heart disease by more than 40 percent. Even worse, the correlation between larger belly fat numbers was especially stronger among the youngest patients of both sexes.

There's no better way to trim the fat around your waist than following an approach that emphasizes diet AND exercise. Emphasizing one and ignoring the other just won't help you achieve optimal health.

The easiest way to get your diet under control: Eating the foods your body burns best based on your unique nutritional type. Because exercise can be the tricky part of your optimal health plan, keep in mind that you must treated it like a drug that must be prescribed precisely to make any difference.

American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 164, No. 12, December 15, 2006

Yahoo News December 26, 2006

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