Bad news for beer bellies

Studies in England, Germany point out health risks

Dec 23, 1999 - Researchers don't have many good words for beer bellies these days. One study by a German expert on metabolism links beer paunches to a variety health risks. Another in Great Britain points beer bellies are much more dangerous than the extra "padding" some women put on around the middle.


In the German study, Gerard Klose said dangers begin to emerge in men measuring more than 94 centimeters around the middle, and become "really risky" at a girth of 102 centimeters. Too much fat, he said, makes diabetes, certain forms of cancer and heart disease a distinct possibility.

An article in the Times of London reported that fat which collects around the internal organs to form the typically male beer belly also finds its way into the bloodstream, thus raising cholesterol levels.

Around the hips, where women usually put on extra kilograms, the fat is relatively "safely stored" and has far less effect on the body, said Margaret Ashwell.

"There is clear evidence that people with 'apple-shaped' (pot-bellied) bodies were more prone to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and perhaps even cancer, than those with pear-shaped forms," she said.

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