Having an apple-shaped body—with fat concentrated around the abdomen—and a waist size of 40 inches or more in men, and 35 inches in women, is a “strong indicator” of left ventricular dysfunction in the heart, the most common cause of heart disease and congestive heart failure.
People who are diabetic, and have a higher risk of heart disease anyway, increase that risk again if they have a large waist, say researchers at the Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.
It’s the best predictor for heart failure, and is much more accurate than BMI, which measures height against weight. Someone who is overweight, but is pear-shaped—with weight accumulated around the hips—is less likely to have heart disease in the future.
They monitored the heart function of 200 diabetics, and advised them to change their diet or maintain standard care, depending on whether they were pear-shaped or apple-shaped.
Although there’s a strong link between being overweight and the risk of left ventricular dysfunction in the heart, the risk is amplified if the extra weight is concentrated around the waist, the researchers say.
As one in three people will suffer heart disease in the West, it’s important they reduce fat around their waist if they’re apple-shaped, the researchers conclude.