Experts recommend that in addition to BMI, abdominal measurements be taken during health check-ups because of the increased heart disease risk of a high waist circumference or low waist-to-hip ratio — despite patients having a healthy weight.
“Studies that have examined the relationship between abdominal fat and cardiovascular outcomes confirm that visceral fat is a clear health hazard,” Powell-Wiley said.
In writing the statement, researchers paid close attention to studies on managing and treating abdominal obesity. According to the group, consuming fewer calories can decrease abdominal fat. Additionally, aerobic exercise is the most beneficial physical activity to lessen abdominal obesity. Engaging in the recommended minimum of 150 minutes a week of physical activity may be enough to decrease abdominal fat. In some cases, exercise alone or in conjunction with dietary changes has been shown to lessen abdominal obesity without weight loss.
“The research provides strong evidence that weight management be included as an essential aspect of managing atrial fibrillation, in addition to the standard treatments to control heart rate, rhythm and clotting risk,” Powell-Wiley said.
Find out more about the AHA’s scientific statement here.