NEW YORK - Here's something else to worry about. A new study claims that your belly fat could impact anxiety.
Although anxiety can be caused by many factors, a new study suggests that the amount of abdominal fat a woman has could increase her chances of developing anxiety.
The study looked at more than 5,580 middle-aged Latin American women.
The study was the first of its kind known to use waist-to-height ratio as the specific link to anxiety. Waist-to-height ratio has been shown to be the indicator that best assesses cardiometabolic risk. A general guideline is that a woman is considered obese if her waist measures more than half of her height.
The study found that women in the middle and upper thirds of waist-to-height ratios were significantly more likely to have anxiety, and those in the upper third were more likely to actually display signs of anxiety compared with women in the lower two-thirds.
Anxiety is a concern because it is linked to heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, respiratory disorders, and drug abuse, among other documented medical problems. Research has shown an increase in the frequency of anxiety in women during midlife, likely as a result of decreased levels of estrogen, which has a neuroprotective role.
The study was published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society.