Waist size is essential

A healthy body requires a minimum amount of fat for the proper functioning of the hormonal, reproductive, and immune systems, as thermal insulation, as shock absorption for sensitive areas, and as energy for future use. But the accumulation of too much storage fat can impair movement and flexibility, and can alter the appearance of the body. Worst of all is that overweight may cause serious diseases and even death.

A study revealed Monday that women who have excess abdominal weight have a potential risk of getting cancer or heart disease.

Researchers at Harvard University and the National Institute of Health examined clinical data from more than 44,000 women that were followed over 16 years.

During that time, 3,507 of the women died --1,748 of cancer and 751 of heart disease.

Women with waist size equal to or greater than 35 inches were about twice as likely to die of heart disease and cancer when compared to women with a waist size less than 28 inches, regardless of their body mass index.

"Although maintaining a healthy weight should continue to be a corner stone in the prevention of chronic diseases and premature death, maintaining a healthy waist size should also be an important goal," the study authors wrote.