girl holding excess body fat

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New Mayo Study Says It is Associated with Early Death

People with a large waist-to-hip ratio, even if not overweight, are at increased risk of dying prematurely, a new study1 from the Mayo Clinic has found. The study was published in the annals of internal medicine. 

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We’re all about being happy no matter where you’re at on your fitness journey, but you shouldn’t ever be satisfied. There’s always room to improve. If research says we can be healthier and live longer by making some improvements, we should know about it and get after it, right?

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demonstration of how to measure waist to hip ratio girl silhouette

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Waist-to-hip ratio is calculated by measuring your hips and your waist and dividing the waist measurement by the hip measurement. A ratio of 1.0 or greater for men, and 0.85 or greater for women, indicates that you’re carrying too much belly fat around your abdomen. For fitness, a ratio between .80-.90 for men and between .70-.80 for women is best.

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If your WHR measurement is high, you have an almost 50 percent increased risk of premature death when compared to people with a healthy ratio.

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Waist size matters, particularly in people who are a normal weight. The lack of recognition of this leads people with abnormal distribution of fat to have a false sense of safety or reassurance that they don't need to exercise or they can eat whatever they want because they are 'skinny' when in reality, if a person has a larger WHR, they are at high risk.  

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Having a high waist-to-hip ratio has been associated in other research with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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Study details

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For this study, Dr. Lopez-Jimenez and his colleagues used data collected from 12,785 people aged 18 and older who had participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey2, which was conducted from 1988 to 1994. The data included not only body measurements, but also demographic and health information.

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The researchers then searched through the National Death Index3 to determine which of the 12,785 participants had died before the end of December 2006 — an average follow-up period of slightly more than 14 years. They found 2,562 deaths, of which 1,138 were related to cardiovascular disease. 

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They then calculated the chances of dying within five- to 10-year time frames for people with different combinations of BMI (normal, overweight or obese) and waist-to-hip-ratios (normal or with “central obesity”).

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They found that the risk of dying from heart disease was 2.75 times higher, and the risk of death from all causes was 2.08 times higher, among people who had normal BMIs but also central obesity. 

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Lopez-Jimenez and his colleagues suggest several possibilities: The high risk of death may be related to the fact that the fat that accumulates around the internal organs in the abdomen is associated with insulin resistance, higher cholesterol levels and inflammation of the blood vessels. Also, a higher waist-to-hip ratio is associated with decreased muscle mass in the legs, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

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No matter what the reason, all of us—whether we are officially overweight or not—should probably be taking a closer look at where our fat is distributed by getting a waist-to-hip measurement.

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HOW TO LOWER BELLY FAT

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Get you calories in line with your metabolic rate.
Exercise weight training a minimum of 3 x a week
Do cardio utilizing H.I.I.T. principles 4 x a week
Digest your food
Take the only nutrient proven to target belly fat reduction in double blind studies,
CLA “Clear Cut CLA.” Take 4 grams a day (2 capsules morning and 2 capsules night)

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pic of gains in bulk clear cut cla

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annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2468805
www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nh3data.htm
www.cdc.gov/nchs/ndi.htm