Effects of a so-called apple shape in women
If women have a large waist in relation to their hips, this indicates a significantly increased risk of a heart attack. For men, however, these effects of the waist-to-hip ratio are not as severe.
The researchers at the internationally recognized University of Oxford found that a relatively large waist in relation to the hip leads to an increased risk of heart attacks in women. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of the American Heart Association" (JAHA).
Waist to hip ratio a good predictor of heart attacks
In their study, the experts analyzed the data of almost 500,000 people from the so-called UK biobank. They found that the waist to hip ratio is a better predictor of heart attacks in both sexes than general obesity, as measured by the BMI. However, the study suggests that women with a so-called apple shape are particularly at risk.
How does the distribution of adipose tissue in the body work?
"Our results show that a look at the distribution of fatty tissue in the body - especially in women - can give us more information about the risk of a heart attack than general obesity," says study author Dr. Sanne Peters of the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in a press release on the study results.
Gender differences found in body fat distribution
“Our results also suggest that differences in the way women and men store fat can affect the risk of heart disease. Understanding the role that gender differences in body fat distribution play in future health problems could lead to gender policies for public health that could more effectively combat the global obesity epidemic, ”added the doctor.
Obesity and obesity lead to illnesses
Obesity or obesity are an important and increasingly common risk factor for chronic diseases such as a heart attack, diabetes and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death worldwide. The guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that men with a waist larger than 102 cm and women with a waist larger than 88 cm have a greatly increased risk of metabolic diseases (including diabetes).
Women are more affected
The results of the current study show that a high BMI in both sexes is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. However, the waist-to-hip ratio appeared to be more pronounced in women. It was associated with a 10 to 20 percent greater risk of heart attack in women than a high BMI. The waist to hip ratio was an 18 percent stronger predictor of a heart attack than the BMI in women and a 6 percent stronger predictor of a heart attack in men. This suggests that more fat around the abdomen in particular has a greater effect on women, possibly for genetic or biological reasons, the experts explain.
More research is needed
However, more research is needed to find out more about how women and men store body fat and how and why this is related to different health risks. Peters added. (as)