Most people gain weight at this festive time of year between the holiday parties and the extra goodies that we tend to keep around. But what does that extra belly mean for you later on? Experts warn about the importance of keeping belly weight off as it is so closely linked to cardiac death.

The New York Times reports on belly weight’s link to cardiac death and why you should get rid of that holiday weight. The sooner one loses the belly weight the better, because it gets more and more difficult over time according to fitness experts.

A new study shows that having tummy weight, sometimes known as a beer belly, significantly increases one’s chances of having a heart attack. Not only does it increase the risk but also it can cause a sudden death.

What is sudden cardiac death defined as?

“Sudden cardiac death is the result of an electrical malfunction that causes the heart to beat irregularly. It is not the same as a heart attack, which results from a failure of blood circulation to the heart, but accounts for about half of all cardiac-related deaths,” according to The Times.

How was the study conducted? The researchers followed almost 15,000 people so that the study would be comprehensive. The average age of the subjects was fifty-four and they were followed for thirteen years.

The subjects were studied in detail five times over the years. Out of all the participants, 253 of them died due to cardiac deaths during the course of the study. What was common among all those who died suddenly?

“As the researchers expected, those who died suddenly had higher rates of other cardiac risk factors, including obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and more. But independent of these factors, those with the highest waist-to-hip ratio had more than double the risk of sudden cardiac death compared with those in the normal range,” according to The Times.

Only nonsmokers saw the increased risk. The researchers said they expected the results to be somewhere along these lines. The results were published in the journal Heart.

Dr. Adabag, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, told The Times, “We’re not sure what’s mediating it. But abdominal obesity is much more inflammatory, much worse than general obesity.” Dr. Adabag led the study.

What should people who have a little belly at their midriff do? Dr. Adabag admits that there is no easy answer to this issue. He says people in this category simply have to make a significant effort to reduce their cardiac risk by weight loss, diet and exercise.

Fox news reports that perhaps your holiday belly will not be quite as bad as you anticipate it to be. Many people think that they gain around ten pounds during the holidays but some experts say that is not exactly true.

Fox talks about a study from the New England Journal of Medicine that says that the average weight gain from thanksgiving to Christmas is actually just around a pound. The study included around 200 adults. The adults were weighed at different times from September to February.

But some experts say that perhaps there is a reason why these adults did not show a higher weight gain.

“The researchers found that most of the participants didn't lose the holiday weight before the beginning of the next pre-holiday period, suggesting, the researchers wrote, that this seasonal weight gain probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood,” according to Fox.

And this weight is often on one’s belly.

Gerry Oginski
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