Those who are overweight and out of shape are at a higher heart attack risk. Those who are fit and slim are at a low heart attack risk.
This is a well-documented fact. Or is it?
A new study in the journal Scientific Reports puts this fact to a test, and the results were quite unexpected.
The researchers recruited 52 physically active men between the ages of 18 and 30 and divided them into the three waist-to-height ratio groups.
A waist-to-height ratio is your waist circumference divided by height.
Carrying extra weight around the belly area (donut) has long been considered to be a predictor of heart attack risk. As such, a high waist-to-height ratio is often used as an indicator to see if people are at higher risk of heart attack.
A waist-to-height ratio of 0.5 is considered relatively safe but anything higher would indicate increased risk (the higher the riskier).
Now they measured the men’s post-exercise recovery, which is a great indicator of heart health.
Post-exercise recoveries are measured by having the subject exercise hard and then monitor how quickly they recover. The most important data is how fast the heart rate decreases and how quickly the blood pressure drops. Both of these are controlled by your parasympathetic nervous system.
Unsurprisingly, the post-exercise recovery time increased with increased waist-to-height ratios. Men with waist-to-height ratio fared the worst. That’s of course why people with a high ratio have been found to be at higher risk of heart attack.
But the finding that alarmed the scientists was that many of those whose ratios fell below the heart disease risk threshold still recovered at a rate that indicated a serious heart disease risk.
This came as a surprise, not only because these subject’s ratios were below the heart disease risk threshold, but also because they were not overweight and were relatively active physically, often playing recreational sports over the weekends.
However, this is no surprise to us who have been studying natural health for a long time. Body fat is not a direct indicator of plaque buildup in your heart arteries – which of course is THE cause of heart attack.