The Oxford University study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona, found those with the biggest waists were 3.21 times more likely to suffer heart failure than slim adults.
In comparison, the heaviest subjects were 2.65 times likelier to develop the condition.
Lead researcher Dr. Ayodipupo Oguntade confirmed that the amount of “trunk fat” is more important in the tracking of cardiovascular risk.
His study looked at 430,000 British subjects for 13 years.James Leiper, from the British Heart Foundation, said: “Heart failure is a chronic and incurable condition that worsens over time, so these findings underline the importance of managing your weight now.”
Experts have urged people to check their waist size regularly.
Health body Nice says an adult’s waist should be less than half their height. The National Obesity Forum advises using a piece of tape to measure, adding: “If it fits snugly, you’re in a ‘healthy’ weight range.”