Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Location of body fat important in predicting heart attack risk

28.10.2004


For elderly women, the location of body fat is more important than total fat amount in predicting future heart attacks, according to researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.



"In the over-70 age group, overall obesity did not predict heart attack risk," said Barbara J. Nicklas, Ph.D., lead researcher. "It didn’t matter how much fat the older woman had – what mattered was where that fat was stored."

The researchers found that intra-abdominal fat, or fat stored in and around the internal organs, is most predictive of heart attack risk. The results are reported in the current issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. "People with higher levels of intra-abdominal fat tend to be apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped" Nicklas said. "As we age, fat gets stored in the abdomen more than anywhere else, which isn’t good because it’s now associated with heart attacks. The best way to lose that fat is to lose overall body fat through exercise and diet."


The study was conducted in initially healthy 70- to 79-year-old men and women from Pittsburgh, Pa., and Memphis, Tenn., who were enrolled in the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study. Individuals were eligible for the study if they reported no life-threatening illness such as heart disease, as well as no difficulty walking a quarter of a mile, climbing 10 steps or performing basic activities of daily living.

At the beginning of the study, the researchers measured total body fat as well as fat distribution (waist-to-thigh ratio, waist circumference, and intra-abdominal or visceral fat). Participants were contacted every six months for the next 4½ years to collect data about hospitalizations or major outpatient procedures for heart attack.

The research revealed that intra-abdominal fat was a risk factor even if women did not have any other risk factors for heart disease. "Women who had a heart attack during the course of the study had approximately 27 percent more intra-abdominal fat at the start of the study," said Nicklas. "This risk factor was independent of total amount of body fat, diabetes, blood pressure and blood lipid levels."

One surprising finding from the study was that intra-abdominal fat was not a predictor of heart attack in men ages 70 to 79. "None of the body fat measures were predictors of heart attack in men," said Nicklas. "My theory is that men who had high levels of fat would have experienced heart disease earlier than in their 70s; therefore, they weren’t eligible for our study. I wouldn’t be surprised if we did a study of men in their 50s and 60s in which we would see abdominal fat as a strong risk factor for a future heart attack."

Knowing more about intra-abdominal fat as a risk factor for heart disease could lead to early screening, said Nicklas. Waist size is one easy way to screen but, according to the study results, may not be the most accurate. "There are clinically defined cut-points for waist size --35 inches for women and 40 inches for men--that suggest a person is at higher risk for heart disease," Nicklas said. "However, in this study, waist size was not an accurate predictor of heart attack."

The most accurate method for measuring intra-abdominal fat is the more expensive computed tomography (CT) scan. "From the scan, we could determine how much abdominal fat was stored just underneath the skin versus how much was stored in the abdominal cavity, or inside the muscle wall," Nicklas said.

The research was funded by grants from the National Institute on Aging, including the Wake Forest University Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. Nicklas’ co-researchers were Brenda Penninx, Ph.D, Matteo Cesari, M.D., Ph. D., Stephen B. Kritchevsky, Ph.D., Jingzhong Ding, Ph.D., and Marco Pahor, M.D., all from Wake Forest Baptist, Anne B. Newman, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, Alka M. Kanaya, M.D., from the University of California at San Francisco, and Tamara Harris, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>