Generally speaking, weight-related health problems are usually associated with those who are significantly overweight. Being “skinny fat” ‒ that is, have some flab clinging to the stomach and hips ‒ is usually considered to be more of a visual blight than a serious threat to the body’s health. Having a spare tire around your waist, however, might just take years off your life.
Waistline and Lifespan
An international team of researchers believe that skinny fat people may have a higher mortality risk than their heavier counterparts. This particular study examined nearly 15,200 adults; on average, the authors reviewed about 14 years of medical data for each participant. The ages of the subjects varied widely; some were as young as 18, whereas the oldest adults were 90 years of age.
The highlight of the study was the finding that skinny fat adults, rather than overweight/obese subjects, were the most likely to die prematurely. In short, “skinny fat” participants had normal weights relative to their heights, yet had high amounts of fat around their waistlines. The study authors referred to this condition as “central obesity.”
The Importance of Location
So why does fat around the stomach have such a harmful effect on lifespans? As things currently stand, the authors do not have a conclusive answer to this question. They speculate, however, that fat collecting around the stomach and hips may be especially damaging to the body’s metabolism. In a nutshell, metabolism describes the conversion of food and beverages into readily available energy. In addition, waistline fat can place the body at greater risk of not only diabetes, but also heart disease. The December 1st, 2015 issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine carried the team’s report.