A study done at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark shows that poor physical condition is associated, of course with a larger waist circumference, but also with a higher risk of inflammation. The results were published this week in the journal PLOS One.
Numerous studies have already shown that excess fat in the belly (visceral fat) can increase the risk of chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders (metabolic syndrome). This risk is related to a secretion by intra-abdominal fat of pro-inflammatory proteins: adipokines.
In this new study, the researchers found that fitness level is also inversely proportional to abdominal fat and waist circumference, as well as inflammation level.
The scientists analyzed data from 10,976 people. To assess their fitness, they were tested for VO2 max, to calculate the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can absorb during physical activity. The person’s waist circumference was measured, as well as their weight. Blood tests were also performed to determine the level of C-reactive protein.
The researchers realized that people with good physical condition had a smaller waist circumference, and less inflammation, and this without a direct link to their body mass index. The body mass index is, indeed, quite poorly correlated to waist size.
Several studies have shown in recent years that pro-inflammatory proteins that are secreted by fat inside the belly and belly organs are responsible for general inflammation and worsening autoimmune diseases.
For example, in osteoarthritis, adipokines are associated with more aggressive hand osteoarthritis in obese people, while it is quite rare for an obese to walk on the hands! In this case, the overload of the joints can not be evoked. Similarly, in rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis, these autoimmune diseases are more severe in obese patients and treatments, even the most powerful, are less effective.