Published on March 18, 2019

Extra Weight Around the Middle May Increase Heart Attack Risk

Woman looking at watchThis is especially true for women.

Being overweight or obese has long been associated with increased heart disease risk. But a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that where you carry the extra weight may make a difference, especially if you’re a woman.

Larger waistline could increase women’s risk by up to 20%

The researchers studied more than 500,000 adults ages 40 to 69 from the United Kingdom for seven years. They found that women who were heavier around the middle were up to 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who carried weight more evenly throughout their bodies.

Men with larger waist sizes also had an increased heart attack risk, but not as much so as women. In both sexes, extra weight in the stomach was a stronger indicator of heart attack risk than overall body mass index.

Set Realistic Goals to Lose Weight and Improve Health

Couple jogging with weightsHeart disease isn’t the only health problem linked to being overweight. Extra weight can also lead to type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and kidney disease, and has been linked to some types of cancer.

If you need to shed some pounds, here are some tips to get started:

  • Keep a food diary to give you a realistic look at changes you can make.
  • See your doctor to assess your ideal weight and set a weight-loss goal.
  • Choose a few specific goals, such as walking three days a week or cutting out soda.

Use the NIH Body Weight Planner tool to help reach your goal weight.