FRIDAY, July 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Women with normal-weight central obesity have increased mortality risk compared with normal weight women with no central obesity, according to a study published online July 24 in JAMA Network Open.

Yangbo Sun, M.D., from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and colleagues conducted a nationwide prospective cohort study of 156,624 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative at 40 clinical centers to examine the correlations of normal-weight central obesity with all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

The researchers identified 43,838 deaths, including 12,965 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 11,828 deaths from cancer (29.6 and 27.0 percent, respectively). The hazard ratio for all-cause mortality was 1.31 for women with normal weight and central obesity, 0.91 for women with overweight and no central obesity, 1.16 for women with overweight and central obesity, 0.93 for women with obesity and no central obesity, and 1.30 for women with obesity and central obesity compared to women with normal weight and no central obesity and adjusted for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, lifestyle factors, and hormone use. Normal weight with central obesity was associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and cancer mortality (hazard ratios, 1.25 and 1.20, respectively), compared with normal weight without central obesity.

“Our findings challenge the current paradigm that measurement of abdominal fat is not recommended for individuals with normal BMI,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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