Australians target beer guts

Health officials say metabolic syndrome threatens 50% of public

May 20, 2002 - Australian health officials hope a new screening program for a condition which has been dubbed beer-gut syndrome will seriously reduce deaths caused by heart disease.


Syndrome X, also known as metabolic syndrome, or, by its unofficial title beer gut syndrome, threatens the health of an estimated 50% of Australians. The syndrome groups together four health risk categories including high levels of abdominal fat, high blood pressure and blood sugar and cholesterol factors.

People with full blown metabolic syndrome triple their risks of coronary heart disease and stroke and increase their risk of dying from coronary heart disease by up to six times.

The Australian Vascular Initiative (AVI) screening program would target 60,000 Australians and take the form of a simple gut measurement, AVI steering committee member Dr Greg Fulcher said.

Men with an abdominal measurement above 94cm and women with a measurement in excess of 80cm - characterised by the "apple shape" - would be considered candidates for metabolic syndrome and would undergo further tests, Dr Fulcher said.

He said obesity was fuelling metabolic syndrome, with about 60% of Australian adults either obese or overweight. said while overweight and obesity was traditionally associated with middle age, increasing numbers of young people, including early teenagers, were having the same problems.

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