Wide waists linked to heart attack, stroke risk

Health

Obesity has been linked to risk of heart attack and stroke, but a new study says measuring your waist may be more important than the number on the scale.

The study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology looked at 22,000 patients after their first heart attack. It found waist circumference not only increases your risk for a first heart attack or stroke but also for recurrent events.

Experts believe the type of fat that typically sits around the waistline is to blame.

Visceral fat is the type that is deep inside your body and wraps around your vital organs. It can turn into cholesterol and start collecting along and hardening your arteries.

The waist size for men considered obese is 40 inches or greater, according to the CDC. For women, it is 35 inches or greater.

For how to measure your waistline, click here.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Doctors say 90% of heart disease comes from risk factors you can control like blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and diabetes.

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