Location of fat important in predicting heart disease
A recent study has found that increased abdominal fat is associated with worsening heart disease risk factors. This study has added to the growing body of evidence that regional deposits of fat are harmful, in particular the study found that increased stomach fat and a lower fat density resulted in worsening heart disease risk factors. This is one of the first studies that has closely examined the density of fat, and the team are still working to understand the effect that density of fat truly has. Over 6 years the researchers analysed data from 1,106 individuals who were taking part in the Framingham Heart Study.
Increases in subcutaneous and visceral fat were measured over this period. Each additional pound of fat from baseline was associated with new high blood pressure and characteristics of metabolic syndrome. These changes were more pronounced with increased visceral fat rather than subcutaneous. There were even suggestions that higher levels of fat under the skin may actually be protective, as it serves as a ‘metabolic sink for storing excess fat particles’. An editorial accompanied the study and stated that the findings support a growing body of evidence that suggest that identifying the location and the type of fat provides important information about the risk of heart disease. The researchers want to continue their work to understand the role of fat density and how it is involved in the mechanism of obesity.