More than 70 health studies which followed more than 2.5 million people for up to 24 years has shown that every 4 inches of excess visceral fat (that is fat stored around the waist and belly) is associated with an 11 percent higher chance of dying prematurely.
This is because visceral fat sits around vital organs including the liver, kidneys, intestines and pancreas.
The study was published in the British Medical Journal and suggests that people should be more concerned about their waist measurement than focussing only on their weight or BMI. The study author Tauseef Ahmed Khan of the University of Toronto said: “Visceral fat is linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and stroke”.
At Gymophobics we now include the RFM Index which compares the waist / height ratio. Ideally, the waist measurement should be less than half the height measurement.