Though BMI (body mass index) and waist size are standard risk factors for heart disease, it has also been shown that these two factors can predict risk of fatal heart disease (as well as non-fatal).

This research is reported in a 2009 European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.

The study involved over 20,000 men and women, 20-65, begun in 1993. The link between BMI and waist size, to heart disease is strong.

About 50 percent of fatal, and 25 percent of non-fatal, heart disease in overweight and obese people can be explained by BMI.

Though other studies have tied body mass index to heart disease, the uniqueness of this particular study was that it did not rely upon self-reported data. Instead, anthropometric measurements were used.

Between 1993 and 1997, BMI and waist circumference (plus other variables) were measured professionally by the Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases (MORGEN) of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands.

The patients were tracked via hospital discharge, along with national cause-of-death records. BMI and waist size were adjusted for age, and correlated to cause-of-death stats and hospital records.

The results? For people who were classified as overweight or obese (based on BMI), 53 percent of the fatal heart disease, and 25-30 percent of the non-fatal heart disease, were attributed to the overweight and obese status of these subjects.

So it’s a no-brainer: Overweight and obesity are major killers, and this means that “embracing” your extra large body will not reduce the risk of heart disease!

Killer heart disease does not give a hoot how “comfortable” you are with your plus-size body!

I’m a former certified personal trainer and calculated the body mass index of many of my clients: Body mass index (BMI) is calculated using a person’s height and weight.

(However by far, my first preference was to compute body fat percentage with skin fold calipers — but the BMI is a fast way to give a more simple presentation of where overweight people stand).

If your BMI is in the “overweight” or “obese” range, don’t make excuses such as being old, under stress, or having given birth, even to multiples.

Heart disease is always on the prowl, and this No. 1 killer of Americans does not care if you’ve gone through one pregnancy or eight!

If you’ve been exercising but still suffer from a BMI in the obese or overweight category, check out these helpful articles for techniques to reduce body fat:

Anaerobic walking for blasting belly fat

High intensity interval training for melting abdominal fat

Focusing on force-production muscles for stripping off body fat

BMI can be manipulated, no matter what kind of body type you believe you have. Remember, BMI and waist circumference are strongly correlated with fatal heart disease.