A study by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has shown nearly two-thirds of people who have a high risk of developing heart disease have excess belly fat.
The result of the survey was presented at the World Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Health in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
According to the report, excess fat, especially around the middle part of the body is a sign of abnormal fat distribution in the body adding that belly fat is bad for the body.
Unlike what many believe that only overweight or obese people are at a risk of heart disease, the report says people who are not overweight but has an uneven distribution of fat in the belly are also at risk.
The shows further that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Europe as there are more than 11 million new cases of cardiovascular disease and 3.9 million deaths.
Professor Kornelia Kotseva, chair of the EUROASPIRE Steering Committee from Imperial College London, UK, said: “The survey shows that large proportions of individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease have unhealthy lifestyle habits and uncontrolled blood pressure, lipids and diabetes.”
A total of 2,759 participants were interviewed and examined using standardised methods and instruments. Nearly two-thirds (64%) were centrally obese (waist circumference 88 cm or greater for women and 102 cm or higher for men). Some 37% were overweight (body mass index [BMI] 25 to 29.9 kg/m2) and 44% were obese (BMI 30kg/m2 or above). Nearly one in five participants (18%) were smokers and just 36% achieved the recommended physical activity level of at least 30 minutes, five times per week.