In a study University College London (UCL) researchers have found that Waist-to-hip ratio may be a stronger indicator of health issues such as coronary heart disease and stroke than the commonly-used measure Body mass index (BMI).
Researchers in this experiment used a method called Mendelian randomization to minimize bias from data of BMI and waist-to-hip ratio sources. Using this method they have measured the variation in genes known to be linked to BMI and waist-to-hip ratio to examine the causal effects on different diseases. The examination showed that although genetics are not a perfect predictor of cardiovascular problems in individuals they can be reliably used to measure disease risk from different measures of body fat in groups of people or populations.
Researchers looked at multiple genetic variants linked to BMI and waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI, as a measure of obesity and central body fat in up to 229,000 people. They found a clear causal relationship between increased BMI and central body fat with higher risks of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Check out my previous post on the Basics of Clinical Trail and FDA drug safety analysis.
The result suggested that central body fat may have a stronger effect on stroke risk than BMI, but both measurements should be taken into account when estimating the impact of fat distribution on health.
The author of the study Dr. Caroline Dale from UCL has stated that “While BMI is a successful indicator of risk for some diseases; waist-to-hip ratio may be a better indicator of risk for other diseases, especially stroke. While it is difficult to disentangle the two measures, the waist-to-hip ratio should be considered as another valuable marker of risk”. The findings indicate that the distribution of body fat plays multiple causal roles in diseases that are independent of general obesity.
This study gives valuable information for scientists and researchers working to find new approaches to tackling cardiovascular disease and could influence the development of new drugs and disease preventions. It also suggests that physicians should pay attention to measures of obesity beyond BMI, as the measurement of such traits may offer additional information to help identify patients at risk of cardiovascular diseases.
UK girl Children’s with bedroom TVs at significantly higher risk of being overweight
In an another research conducted in the UK by UCL it has been found that UK children’s who had TVs in their bedroom at age 7 had a significantly higher body mass (BMI) and fat mass (FMI) and were more likely to be overweight compared to children who did not have a bedroom TV. The result has been found with the survey conducted with over 12,000 young children from the UK of age 11-year-olds.
Girls who had a TV in their bedroom at age 7 were at an approximately 30% higher risk of being overweight at age 11 compared to children who did not have a TV in their bedroom, and for boys, the risk was increased by about 20%. The research confirmed that the number of hours spent watching TV or DVDs by young girl showed a positive correlation with the increased body fatness. This indicates that a more TV the girls watched, the more likely they were to be overweight.
The study took a range of other obesity-linked factors into consideration, such as household income, mothers’ education, breastfeeding duration, physical activity and irregular bedtimes. Mothers’ BMI was also taken into account to represent the overall food environment in the household as well as potential genetic influences. In addition, children’s BMI at age 3 was included to minimize the possibility of reverse causation – the possibility that being overweight in the first place leads to spending more time in front of a screen.
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