Shedding extra flab may be in vogue, but most of the health conscious people are not aware that excess fat around the waistline may facilitate long-term diseases, according to a recent survey.

According to the survey of 12,000 Europeans, almost nine in every 10 people had no idea that a thick waist, or visceral fat, was a sign of a build-up of a dangerous type of fat around the internal organs.

Only a quarter of those questioned thought being overweight was a risk to long-term health at all, found the survey by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The visceral fat is strongly linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease and most people would lose weight once they found out the risk, said the report.

It is thought that the danger of visceral fat is related to the release of proteins and hormones that can cause inflammation, which in turn can damage arteries and enter the liver, and affect how the body breaks down sugars and fats.

Report author Dr. Terry Maguire, honorary senior lecturer at Queen’s University in Belfast, said people did not know that visceral fat, which you cannot see or feel and which sits around the organs in the abdomen, is there or that it poses a problem.

“Most overweight people still see themselves as having a body image issue not a health problem and they need to understand the health benefits of weight loss as well as the cosmetic results,” he was quoted by the BBC as saying.

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