Fat deep inside your abdomen, called visceral fat, collects and clusters around your vital organs. From there, it sends out proteins and hormones that are associated with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Recently, Canadian researchers found that Chinese and South Asians have greater amount of abdominal fat, especially visceral fat, than equally overweight Europeans or aboriginal Canadians.
In fact, their visceral fat rises to dangerous levels when they are much less fat overall than the latter two groups. The researchers concluded that for Chinese and South Asians, waist circumference is a more accurate measure of dangerous fat levels than the commonly used body mass index.
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Sources: Reuters; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2007