Atherosclerosis pathology and belly fat research
Researchers examined 158 men and 182 women with a mean age of 67 years old for calcium buildup in the coronary arteries and fat distribution.
These participants were chosen because they showed no known heart disease.
Electron-beam computed tomography was used to measure calcium in the artery at the beginning of the study and again 4.5 years later.
Obesity was measured by height and weight, BMI or body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist to hip ratio, waist to height ratio, belly fat or visceral adipose tissue, subcutaneous fat, and subcutaneous to visceral fat ratio.
At the 4.5 year checkup, 55% of the men and 38.5% of the women showed increased artery calcium progression.
Obesity factors that were positively associated with the calcium buildup included:
Abdominal obesity and artery calcification
Thus abdominal obesity was positively associated with coronary artery calcification for women (as measured by waist circumference) and for men (as measured by abdominal fat ratio).
Belly fat may be an independent risk for the development of atherosclerosis without other signs of heart disease (Kramer, A prospective study of abdominal obesity and coronary artery calcium progression in older adults, Journal Clinical Endocrinol Metabolism, October 2009).
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