A medical "myth"? The heart attack "body type"?

I’ve heard from a couple of different people, “oh, that’s a body type that’s a recipe for a heart attack.”

They’re referring to a person who isn’t necessarily heavy all over, but a body type where a guy has skinny legs, and is really fat around the midsection.

Now, the vagueness of the question is part of my reason for doubting the statement.

Have they really done studies, and concluded that “skinny legs, fat around the middle” is more likely for a heart attack than “fat all over.”

Sounds dubious to me.

Anyone ever heard this, too? Any validity to it?

Do a search on the “Framingham Study” and you will get a lot of widely accepted info concerning risk factors.

They’re speaking most specifically about visceral fat as opposed to adipose fat. Visceral fat is held beneath the abdominal muscles, around the organs, and it is far from being inactive. It communicates with hormones, just like other tissues do, but those hormones often cause problems like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Adipose fat is stored beneath the skin, but on top of the muscles, and while it’s not great to lug around and certainly puts strain on the system, it is not the danger that visceral fat poses. Sumo wrestlers, for instance, have almost no visceral fat, but are well padded with adipose fat.

Visceral fat is much more responsive to calorie reduction, so it’s much easier to lose than adipose fat. Men tend to carry it far more than women, which partly explains why men often have an easier time losing weight and a higher incident of heart disease. A person with visceral fat will have a classic “gut” as opposed to rolls of fat, and that is the key indicator when people talk about body types.

You can also do a search on the interheart study and waist - hip ratio.

There were some articles a few decades ago claiming that apple-shaped fat men were more prone to heart attacks than pear-shaped ones. I’m not sure how you’d reseach a concept like that.

I know that “apple-shaped” people, those of us who gain weight in our bellies rather than our hips, are more likely to become diabetic (like me). And diabetes is a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease.

Here’s an old news article on the INTERHEART study. http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/1868/0

I hope this doesn’t count as a hijact, but another “body type and heart attack risk” issue is the alleged correlation between ear creases and heart disease. Is that a load of hooey or is there something to it?

Last I heard, it was a load of semi-hooey. Which I found relieving, as I have baby creases in my earlobes.