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The Real Culprit for Heart Disease: 'Apple' Body Shape or Body Mass Index?

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Heart Disease related image Photo: Getty Images

Which is worse for your heart – general obesity or simply having the bad luck to have the wrong body shape? On the one hand, bolstered by a body of supporting evidence, some medical professionals believe that body shape is the best predictor indicating the likelihood that you will develop and later die, from cardiovascular or heart disease. Proponents of this theory believe that those who are “apple” shaped, that is, those who carry extra weight around their mid-section, are at much greater risk of developing and dying from heart disease than their pear shaped counterparts. For more information on how body shape influences your heart health, visit The Real Heart Disease Culprit: 'Apple' Body Shape or BMI? How Our Shapes Influence Our Health at https://www.empowher.com/heart-disease/content/real-heart-disease-culprit-apple-body-shape-or-bmi-how-our-shapes-influence-ou .

Not everyone is convinced that an apple body shape is the greatest predictor in determining future heart health outcomes. Some believe that general obesity as determined by body mass index is more predictive of future heart outcomes.

Body Mass Index Theory
Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a measure based on height and weight used to calculate the total amount of body fat. This is a general measure of total body fat independent of your body shape. Considered a reliable predictor of the total amount of body fat, BMI is easily calculated as follows:

Weight (in pounds) / Height (in inches)

The result of the calculation produces a measure of your body fat which is then categorized as underweight, normal, overweight, or obesity. A BMI score between 18.5 and 24.9 is normal, over 25.0 is overweight, and persons with scores over 30 are considered obese.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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