The relationship between the waist and height can indicate cardiovascular risk


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Excessive fat accumulation in the abdominal area is already an indicator of a known risk for cardiovascular disease. Its size, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), should not exceed 94 cm (cm) in men and 90 cm in women. A new study, developed by researchers at the University of São Paulo (Unesp), however, found that physically active and non-overweight individuals with a waist height close to the risk limit were also more likely to develop disorders. in the heart.

RCE is obtained by dividing the waist circumference with height. "Until then, values ​​above 0.5 indicate a high risk of developing some cardiovascular disease or metabolism. Values ​​below 0.5 indicate that the person turned out to be at lower risk," explained Vitor Engrácia Valenti, a professor at Unesp de María and coordinator research. For this study 52 healthy and physically active men were selected, aged between 18 and 30 years.

According to Valenti, recent research shows that CERs provide more accurate information about cardiovascular risk than the Body Mass Index (BMI), which assesses body fat distribution. "The results we found attracted the attention of people who thought [estão fora dos grupos de risco] not to have a stomach, but don't do physical activity or maintain healthy eating habits. Even without a stomach, it can be a risk, "warns the teacher based on work.

Research, which received support from the Foundation for Research Support from the State of São Paulo (Fapesp), was conducted in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University, UK, and published in the journal Scientific Reports.


The participants were divided into three groups: the first, consisting of men with lower body fat percentages and with CERs between 0.40 and 0.449; the second, formed by men with CERs between 0.45 and 0.50, approaching the risk threshold; and the third, by men with CERs above the risk limit, between 0.5 and 0.56. "We evaluated the physiological parameters of the autonomic nervous system through heart rhythm before and for one hour after recovery from exercise," Valenti explained.

They were evaluated for two days. In the first exercise, participants must remain seated for 15 minutes at rest and then run with full strength on the exercise treadmill. The aim is to know that everyone is physically active. Even though they are not athletes, they maintain routine activities. So they must rest for 60 minutes.

On the second day, they underwent mild exercise: walking 30 minutes on a treadmill. The intensity is around 60% of maximum effort. The aim is to observe, during rest and the first hour after exercise, the speed of recovery of the autonomic heart. "The longer the body recovers after exercise, this indicates that the person is more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, stroke, stroke," the researchers said.

The results showed that the group with CER approaching and above the risk limit for the development of heart disease showed a slower recovery of autonomic heart, both in maximal effort and in moderate effort. "Even those who are healthy and physically active, who are not overweight or obese but who have normality values ​​closer to the risk value, are at greater risk than those consisting of individuals with waist size and smaller stature," Valenti emphasize.

The researcher explained that this was a preliminary study, but with "strong evidence" of the need to revise reference values. "Let us now suggest that it is done in other countries, with other populations, under other conditions. Here we verify in the Brazilian population. If we think of Chinese populations, Japanese, who have different cultures, different customs, we do not can generalize based on results only from Brazil, "he warned.


Obesity is considered a global epidemic by WHO. An estimated 1.9 billion adults are overweight, of whom 600 million are obese. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health's Surveillance on Risk Factors and Protection for Chronic Diseases through Telephone Inquiry (Vigitel) 2017 shows that 18.9% of Brazilians are obese. In addition, more than half of the population of the capital of Brazil (54%) is overweight.


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