Plus carrying weight around the middle has been found to be particularly risky. A recent study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester found people of normal weight who carry extra fat around their belly had a higher risk dying from heart disease than obese people.

That is why a waist measurement is seen as a more accurate reflection of a person’s health than their body mass index or BMI, which is calculated using height and weight measurements.

‘Our research shows that if a person has a normal BMI, this by itself should not reassure them that their risk for heart disease is low,’ said study researcher Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez.