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Fat bellies are found to be really bad for the heart, study says

Even someone with normal weight, but who has love handles, is at a greater risk of dying from heart disease than an obese person researchers found.

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A new study suggests that belly fat (love handles) might be worse for your heart than obesity. (Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Belly fat might be worse for people than obesity a new study out this week suggested.

Even someone with normal weight but who has love handles is at a greater risk of dying from heart disease than an obese person researchers found.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic said the risk for those who are a proper weight but have bellies (the "skinny fat guy") have three times greater risk of heart issues.

"People with normal weight may be less likely to feel the need for lifestyle changes," said study author Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, reported HealthDay.

"But, central obesity isn't healthy even in those with normal weight."

The study was conducted using data from 12,000 people in the US who took the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Over 14 years over 2,500 of them died, with 1,100 deaths from heart disease.

The reserachers found that people with central body fat but normal weight were 2.75 times more at risk of dying from heart disease than those with a normal waist-to-hip ratio - even if they are obese, said the Los Angeles Times.

Businessweek said that the threat from belly fat may be so great due to the fact that so-called "visceral fat" is stored there, which has been associated with insulin resistance.

Researchers also suspect that it is because those with belly fat have less muscle mass elsewhere and less protective fact in the hips and legs, said HealthDay.

It turns out that there's an easy way to solve the problem.

"A healthy diet and exercise are the way to treat this problem. You do both, lose weight and build muscle mass," said Lopez-Jimenez, reported HealthDay.

GlobalPost has reported before on the dangers of belly fat and how it may increase for those who undergo liposuction.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120830/fat-bellies-are-found-be-really-bad-the-heart-study-says