Relationship between body fat location and health risks

Region of body fat affects heart disease risk

relationship between body fat location and health risks

Layers and cushions of fat providing stored energy and protection from extremes of Explain the relationship between body fat location and health risks. Location of body fat can elevate heart disease, cancer risk Death and disease risk associated with excess body weight can vary among individuals with visible in the abdominal area, could be the cause of this difference in risk. body types and similar BMIs have varied obesity related health conditions. Belly fat -- you may hear people on the street refer to as a beer gut, love handles or a spare tire. Find out how your belly fat links you to several health risks.

Research shows that abdominal fat is the worst of the worst. The inside story What makes abdominal fat so harmful?

Abdominal obesity and your health - Harvard Health

Scientists don't know for sure, but research is providing strong clues. To understand these clues, you must first understand that abdominal fat comes in two different forms. Some of it is located in the fatty tissue just beneath the skin. This subcutaneous fat behaves like the fat elsewhere in the body; it's no friend to health, but it's no special threat either. Fat inside the abdomen is another story.

relationship between body fat location and health risks

This visceral fat is located around the internal organs, and it's the true villain of the piece. One of the earliest explanations for this was that visceral obesity was linked to overactivity of the body's stress response mechanisms, which raise blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cardiac risk.

relationship between body fat location and health risks

A newer explanation relies on the concept of lipotoxicity. Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat cells release their metabolic products directly into the portal circulation, which carries blood straight to the liver. As a result, visceral fat cells that are enlarged and stuffed with excess triglycerides pour free fatty acids into the liver. Free fatty acids also accumulate in the pancreas, heart, and other organs.

In all these locations, the free fatty acids accumulate in cells that are not engineered to store fat.

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The result is organ dysfunction, which produces impaired regulation of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as well as abnormal heart function. These explanations are not mutually exclusive; all may help account for the hazards of visceral fat.

All in all, clinical observations and basic research results agree that excessive fat inside the abdomen is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.

Location of body fat can increase hypertension risk

Evaluating abdominal obesity The most accurate method is to use computed tomography CT or magnetic resonance imaging MRI to measure the amount of visceral fat. But they're expensive and require sophisticated equipment.

relationship between body fat location and health risks

A far simpler method is to determine the waist-to-hip ratio. With your abdomen relaxed, measure your waist at the navel. Next, measure your hips at their widest point, usually at the bony prominences.

Belly Fat: Why it's so dangerous

Finally, divide your waist size by your hip size: The chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke increases steadily as a man's ratio rises above 0. While just over 70 percent of U.

Region of body fat affects heart disease risk

Previous research has found that individuals who carry excess abdominal fat - particularly around the waist - face a greater risk of heart disease, compared with people who have fat elsewhere. This study confirms that regional fat deposits in the stomach are harmful and suggests that the density of stomach fat - measured by CT scan - is just as influential on the risk of heart disease as the amount of fat a person has.

From CT scans, investigators note that the more fat a person has, the lower the density of the fat. Caroline Fox, a former senior investigator for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the study's senior researcher, and colleagues aimed to identify whether there was a relationship between volume and density changes in abdominal fat and changes in cardiovascular risk factors over the 6-year course of the study data.

The team studied 1, participants - average age 45 years and 44 percent women - enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study, and they assessed their CT scans to measure coronary and abdominal aortic calcification. The amount of abdominal fat they had accumulated, its location, and the density of the body fat were analyzed.

relationship between body fat location and health risks

During the study, participants had measurements taken of subcutaneous adipose fat - fat that lies just underneath the skin - and visceral adipose fat that is situated inside the abdominal cavity. Heart disease risk factors more pronounced in belly fat Over the course of the 6-year follow-up, on average, participants experienced a 22 percent increase in fat under the skin and a 45 percent increase in fat inside the abdominal cavity.

Results indicated that increases in the amount of fat and decreases in the density of the fat were associated with adverse changes in heart disease risk.

When It Comes to Body Fat, It's All About Location

Additionally, each extra pound of fat gained from the start of the study through follow-up was linked to new-onset high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and metabolic syndrome. While increases in both subcutaneous and visceral adipose fats were linked with initiating new and exacerbated cardiovascular disease risk factors, the relationship was more noticeable in fat inside the abdominal cavity than fat under the skin.

Participants who had the highest increases in belly fat also showed substantial increases in metabolic risk factors, such as high blood sugar, high triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol.

Higher levels of fat under the skin may have a protective effect to serve as a "metabolic sink for storing excess fat particles," Dr.