Women with a lot of weight around their waistline are nearly twice as likely to develop gallstones large enough to require surgical removal. These are the findings of data analysis from the Nurses’ Health Study of 42,000 women over the course of 14 years.
None of the women in the study had gallstones at the beginning. However, 14 years later, nearly 3,200 (7.6%) women needed to undergo gallstone surgery. Of these women, those with waistlines that exceeded 36 inches were twice as likely to develop gallstones that required surgical removal. In addition, higher waist to hip ratio (calculation of waist size divided by hip size) also increased the risk of gallstones.
Belly fat is thought to boost gallstone risk because this type of fat is more “metabolically active” than fat found elsewhere on the body. Research also shows that gallstones are linked to metabolic syndrome—a combination of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. One of the major risks for metabolic syndrome is excess abdominal fat.
Most gallstones are made of built-up cholesterol.
Reference: HealthDay Feb 14, 2006
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