Belly Fat Can Kill You: Study

Expansive survey finds waist size linked to early death
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Nov 13, 2008 12:17 PM CST
Excess belly fat, even among people with normal weight, can increase the risk of premature death.   (Shutter stock)
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(Newser) – Flabby guts send many to the gym, but a far-reaching new study concludes that they can send you to an early grave as well—even among those with normal weight. The risk of dying prematurely shoots up about 15% each time the belt is let out two inches, researchers concluded after sizing up 360,000 European bellies. Experts recommend measuring the waist to assess health, the BBC reports, and the ever-popular exercise and balanced diet.

Though body mass index remains a good indicator of health, scientists were surprised to see such a strong correlation, especially among people with normal BMI scores and atypically large waists. "There aren't many simple individual characteristics that can increase a person's risk of premature death to this extent, independently from smoking and drinking," said one study leader.