Mayo: Belly fat even worse than obesity

People who are considered to be in a normal weight range but who carry a little extra around the middle need to hit the gym, the Mayo Clinic says. Belly fat is worse than obesity, according to new Mayo research.
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People who are of normal weight but have fat concentrated in their bellies have a higher death risk than those who are obese, according to new Mayo Clinic research, Mayo reports. "From a public health perspective, this is a significant finding," says senior author Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic studied data from more than 12,000 patients to reach the conclusion. The study looked at people with normal body mass index scores who also fit the definition for "central obesity" – meaning they had a high waist-to-hip ratio, the Pioneer Press reports.

"Most of the national campaigns for weight control and obesity focus on BMI," Lopez-Jimenez said. "If the message is, 'You're OK if your BMI is OK,' that's a problem. ... We see from time to time people who have a big belly, but their body weight is normal.

Mayo has lots more info on obesity.

In a separate but related story earlier this spring, Mayo weighed in on what costs more: obesity or smoking? The answer: obesity.

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