Belly fat: healthy during menopause – study shows what’s important

Body mass index (BMI) is the most important indicator of our ideal weight. A study now shows that other factors are more important, at least for menopausal women.

In their study, published in the “European Heart Journal” at “academic.oup.com”, the scientists found that women with the same BMI may still have a very different risk of cardiovascular disease.

The reason for these individual deviations is to be found in the distribution of fat deposits in the body. If the fat pads are more on the legs, the risk of serious illness is therefore much lower than with abdominal fat.

Long-term study with thousands of postmenopausal women

For the long-term study, led by Quibin Qi, who teaches medicine at Albert Einstein College in New York, a total of more than 2,600 menopausal women were examined. The women were recruited to take part in the studies in the 1990s and their health development was then followed up until 2017. About 300 test participants developed cardiovascular disease during this time.

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Menopause II - problems and remedy

Problems and remedies: Menopause II – Problems and remedies
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Ideal size: tight waist, lush thighs

A more detailed evaluation showed that the disease mainly affected women who had very little fat on the legs but a lot of fat in the waist area. It was found that these women with an “apple-shaped” body were three times more likely to develop the disease than those who had a thin waist but had a high percentage of fatty tissue in the legs (“apple-shaped body”). pear”).

Perhaps more surprisingly, women with more fat on their legs had a 40% lower risk of having a stroke or developing high blood pressure than women with very little fat on their legs. The weight and BMI of women in the various risk groups could be identical!

Doctors should also pay more attention to fat distribution

As Qi says: “Our research suggests that postmenopausal women, even those of normal weight, have very different risks of cardiovascular disease because they have a different distribution of fat between the abdomen and legs. So, in addition to general weight control, people should also pay attention to local fat distribution, even those who have a healthy body weight and a normal BMI. “

At the same time, scientists advise all doctors to pay more attention to the distribution of fat in their patients in addition to the usual determination of BMI, especially since high muscle mass falsifies the result.

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Off to six pack training: with targeted exercises against belly fat

To reduce the risk of stroke and other heart or circulatory diseases, women should try to reduce belly fat. With adequate physical exercises, for example many endurance sports or alternating leg raises on the mat, it is possible to effectively improve the waist-to-hip ratio. At the same time, it is hardly possible to ensure fat deposits in the legs. Here, genetic factors played a decisive role.

It is still unclear to what extent the study results can also be passed on to younger women and men.

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