Excess fat around your midsection is especially dangerous for your heart.

For decades, experts have warned that a big belly is more harmful to your heart than extra padding in your hips and thighs. A growing number of Americans now sport this unhealthy “apple-shaped” profile, according to the latest statistics from the CDC.

The average waist circumference for men is now 40.2 inches, up from the 39 inches recorded in the last survey, which was done in 1999–2000. Women’s waist measurements also rose — from an average of 36.3 to 38.6 inches. That means that a majority of Americans now have belly sizes that put them at high risk (see “Gut check: How to measure your midsection”).

Credit: iStock, urk_stock_photographer

Overweight Man Measuring His Belly with tape measure

Read more at Harvard Health Publishing…