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Unless you are one of those really lucky women who were born with the “skinny” gene, then you’ve probably fought the weight gain battle at least once or twice in your lifetime. Those few extra pounds around the tummy do more than just make our jeans impossible to button – they also increase our risk of some fairly serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cholesterol, breast and colon cancer, and cardiovascular or heart disease.
While belly fat is certainly bothersome, the real culprit for most of us lies in visceral fat. Unlike belly fat which we can see and touch, visceral fat is deep fat that plants itself firm in the spaces around your internal organs. Most women who’ve reached that “certain age” – you know, the age where we live in a land of a personal summer – are well familiar with excess belly and visceral fat brought on by menopause and how it increases our risk of heart disease.
Now, researchers at McMaster University believe that weight gain isn’t created equal for all ethnicities. Led by Dr. Sonia Anand, researchers found that while weight gain simply causes some to be able to pinch-an-inch around the belly, in others it goes straight to the internal organs, causing dangerous visceral fat and disproportionately increasing their risks of obesity related diseases, including heart disease.
In particular, researchers found that in comparison to Caucasians and other ethnicities, South Asians are more prone to develop the type of fat that surrounds the internal organs. These findings build on an earlier study conducted by McMaster and the Population Health Research Institute. In the earlier study, researchers found that persons of Indian descent were more prone to heart disease risk factors such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and low levels of good cholesterol, even when their body mass index or BMI was comparable to those of Caucasians.