LONDON, March 11 (UPI) -- Obesity presents a serious risk of heart disease no matter where on the body most of a person's excess fat may reside, U.K. researchers say.
Fat concentrated around the waist is no more or less dangerous than when is it evenly distributed around the body, they say.
The finding contradicts some previous studies that had suggested people with large waistlines, or central obesity, were three times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than people with more general obesity, Sky News reported Friday.
Some researches had urged that waist measurements replace the Body Mass Index as a measure of obesity.
But some 200 scientists from 17 countries analyzing more than 220,000 patients concluded that obesity was a serious risk factor for heart disease wherever the fat resides.
"Regardless of how you measure it, being obese is bad for your heart," Dr. Mike Knapton, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said.
"Measuring your waist is no better than calculating your BMI."
Obesity accounts for one fifth of heart disease cases, the scientists warned in the study published in The Lancet medical journal.