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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>