The amount of fat in the abdomen may point to a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine (June 15, 2004). The focus of the study was to determine whether abdominal fat, as measured by computed tomography scans, predicts who is likely to become hypertensive. The study involved 300 Japanese Americans between 34 and 76 years of age. The researchers examined the relationship between directly measured "visceral adiposity" and the risk of developing hypertension.
The results showed higher amounts of fat in the abdominal area, greater body mass index, and larger waist circumference were all connected with a greater rate of high blood pressure. After taking into consideration the risk factors for high blood pressure, the researchers concluded that only the extent of fat in the abdomen remained a predictor of hypertension.