Having a fat neck seems to show an increased risk of developing heart problems, a new study shows. In fact, measuring a person’s neck may provide as great an indicator of heart disease risk as measuring the waistline, according to researchers from the Framingham Heart Study, who define risk as having lower levels of “good” cholesterol, or higher levels of blood glucose, for example. Researchers looked at over 3,300 men and women with an average age of 51 and average neck circumferences of 40.5 cm and 34.2 cm, respectively. As neck circumference grew, risk factors did, too, and were compounded in those who had fat necks and fat waistlines. The study is just one of several that seem to show health depends not on how fat a person is, but where the fat is located. Having a fat neck could be a “crude measure” of upper body fat, which is associated with heart risk, the BBC reports. “What you don’t want is fat around your liver or heart, and this can happen even if you look fine on the outside. Dieting isn’t what you need to shift this – it’s exercise,” says Professor Jimmy Bell of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre.
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