Higher risk of obesity if your waist-to-hip ratio is more than this
Is your waist-to-hip ratio higher than this? You’re at a greater risk of obesity, study indicates
- Research found the gene SNX10 is associated with higher waist-to-hip ratios
- It is also associated with higher cholesterol, linked to cardiovascular disease
- But the effects were only found in female mice, Chicago researchers found
A higher waist-to-hip ratio could mean you are at a much higher risk of obesity, another study has indicated.
Hundreds of genes are part of the obesity process, but researchers have discovered a gene they think is more likely than others to cause diseases arising from being overweight.
There’s a simple way to find out if you may have the gene, by measuring your waist-to-hip ratio.
That is the width of your waist compared to the width of your hips and it is an indicator of visceral fat, which wraps around your abdominal organs deep inside the body and produces chemicals and hormones which can be toxic.
A ratio lower than 0.99 in men and 0.90 in women is considered healthy and means you are less likely to carry the gene.
A waist-to-hip ratio of 0.99 or lower for men and 0.90 or less for women are healthy, according to the researchers. Men and women naturally have different ratios as well as differing silhouettes
Researchers from the University of Chicago discovered that the gene SNX10 is linked to a higher waist-to-hip ratio in women
Marcelo Nobrega, professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study, said: ‘We have now identified a gene, out of the hundreds of genes that are involved in fat accumulation or obesity, that may be more likely to cause disease complications and, interestingly, it does so primarily in women.’
The study found that having a higher waist-to-hip ratio means you are more likely to have a gene needed for the formation of fat cells and therefore at a higher chance of becoming obese.
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The gene is also associated with an increased likelihood of obesity-related issues including cardiovascular disease.
More than two-thirds of the American population are overweight or obese. It is a particular problem in children, with the CDC forced to extend the childhood BMI scale to include a super obese category.
Waist-to-hip ratio is calculated by measuring your waist and hips in inches and dividing your waist measurement by your hips measurement.
A ratio of 0.99 or lower for men and 0.90 or less for women are healthy, according to the researchers.
Men and women naturally have different ratios as well as differing silhouettes.
It is increasingly being used by doctors instead of body mass index (BMI) as a better measurement of obesity and cardiovascular disease.
When the waist-to-hip ratio is adjusted to also incorporate body mass index, it can be used as a proxy for the balance of subcutaneous versus visceral fat deposition.
Visceral fat wraps around your abdominal organs deep inside the body, whereas subcutaneous fat lives under the skin.
Excess abdominal fat deposition is associated with an increased risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
The researchers found that the gene SNX10 is strongly linked to the waist-to-hip ratio in women, but not men.
They knocked out the gene in mice and found that female mice did not end up obese when fed a high-fat diet, while the males did.
SNX10 is thought to control the ability of fat cells to accumulate fat deposits.
It is located in the cytoplasm of cells and is part of intracellular trafficking — a process used by many molecules to cross the membrane of cells.
The research team also used a database containing more than 700,000 people’s sets of genes.
They discovered that SNX10 is linked to a higher waist-to-hip ratio in women, and is also an indicator of greater levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which are frequently associated with cardiovascular disease.
The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.
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