Deadly beer bellies

Research warns of ills of beer gut, as British get rounder

Oct 19, 2004 - British health experts warn that fat around the stomach - a beer gut or apple shape - could be more deadly than weight carried on the thighs, the so-called pear shape. They say such fat could quadruple the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.


Scientists believe that waist measurement rather than overall weight is more accurate at predicting future health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to rising levels of obesity.

Anthony Barnett, professor of medicine at the University of Birmingham, said people should throw away their bathroom scales and reach for the tape measure to understand the risks they face.

It runs out that fat cells around the stomach are different than other fat cells. The unwanted chemicals they pump out can damage the insulin system, raising the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

"Men with waists of more than 40 inches and women with waist measurements of more than 35 inches are at an incredibly high risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease," said Barnett. "Thicker waistlines may double to quadruple these risks, compared to those with slimmer waistlines."

The warning comes at the same time that a new survey finds the average British man is now sporting a beer belly and men in the northwest have the biggest. Women have generally retained a "pear" shape - with fat concentrated on the hips.

However the survey, by health and fitness website, discovered the average woman in Northern Ireland, Northeast England, East Anglia and Wales has developed an apple figure.

Men in Scotland, northeast England, Wales, southwest England, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and Northern Ireland all had an average ratio of above 0.95 and were therefore apple shaped. Men in northwest England had the highest ratio - 1.02 - based on an average 37-inch waist and 36.2-inch hips.

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