Fat, as we’ve seen, is vital for existence. However, as is often the case, too much of a good thing can be dangerous. Health experts have long known the problems of overfatness, but it has often been under-rated as a primary health risk, partly because BMI is only a blunt measure of fatness. Fat distribution as well as total fatness is of critical importance. European researchers have known this for some time since the famous French endocrinologist Jean Vague published it in 1956. More recently, North American and European researchers have gone back and re-examined the epidemiological data using measures of fat distribution such as

waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) instead of weight, and found that abdominal fatness (i.e. a ‘pot belly’) is just as powerful and important a primary risk factor in determining ill-health as other risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking in causing problems such as heart disease, late onset or non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and some forms of cancer.


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