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Belly fat strong predictor of heart disease

Belly fat strong predictor of heart disease

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Kim Mulvihill reportingYou may be able to determine your risk of heart disease with a simple measurement of your waist and hips.

When it comes to body type, are you an apple or a pear? Researchers say belly fat is a stronger predictor of heart disease than body mass index.

Researchers in the United Kingdom studied close to 25,000 adults for nine years. They measured the participants' hips and waist at the start of the study, as well as their height and weight.

Researchers found men who had waists much larger than their hips, meaning they had a large waist-to-hip ratio, had a nearly 50 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease.

Women with large waists had a 90 percent increased risk for heart disease compared to those with a small waist-to-hip ratio.

The researchers say the waist-to-hip measurement is highly predictive of your future risk of heart disease. And if you're more apple than pear, there's no time like the present to get moving, even if you happen to be over forty.

In another study from Britain, researchers found people who are physically fit after 40 are less likely to suffer a stroke.

They looked at healthy folks over 40 and tested simple things like how well they climb stairs, carry grocery bags, kneel and bend.

They found those who scored the highest on the physical function test had a 50 percent lower risk of stroke.

The study suggests poor physical function could be a warning sign for stroke risk. So don't be surprised if your doctor asks how well you climb the stairs or if she gets out a tape measure to check your waist and hips.

Men with waist over 40 inches and women with a waist over 35 inches are at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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