Findings from small-scale studies have previously demonstrated that normal-weight people with central obesity have worse long-term survival than those who are overweight or obese but carry their weight elsewhere.
In order to see if the findings would be replicated in a large-scale study, scientists examined data on 42,702 participants from 10 different years of the annual Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey. Participants were categorised as normal weight; normal weight with central obesity; overweight; overweight with central obesity; obese; or obese with central obesity based on BMI and waist-hip ratio.
Compared with normal weight participants without central obesity, normal weight and obese people with central obesity were at increased risk for all-cause mortality. All participants with central obesity, regardless of BMI, were at increased risk for cardiovascular deaths.
The authors say the findings provide further evidence that even patients within ‘healthy’ BMI range are at risk.
“Our research does back up the findings of previous smaller scale studies which show normal weight people with central obesity are at increased risk for all-cause mortality,” said co-author, Professor Mark Hamer.
The findings are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine .