Higher waist and hip size are more strongly associated with heart attack risk than overall obesity, especially among women, according to new research from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
In a study of nearly 500,000 adults (aged 40-69) from the United Kingdom, researchers found that while general obesity and obesity specifically around the abdomen each have profound harmful effects on heart attack risk in both women and men, women were more negatively impacted by a larger waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio than men.
This study suggests that differences in the quantity and distribution of fat tissue not only results in differences in body shape between women and men, but may also have different implications for the risk of heart attack in later life the study found.
The findings support the notion that carrying more fat around the abdomen (e.g., apple shape) is more hazardous for heart health than carrying excess fat stored around the hips (e.g., pear shape).
Additional research on sex differences in obesity may yield insights into the biological mechanisms and could inform sex-specific interventions to treat and halt the obesity epidemic.
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