A fat belly can be fatal, a study involving many thousands of men and women has revealed.
Scientists found that having a large waistline doubled the likelihood of an early grave.
Being thick around the middle was already known to be linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels and heart disease.
The new research confirmed how dangerous this can be, showing that it dramatically increased the risk of dying from any cause over a nine-year period.
A US team compared waist circumference and death rates in a population of 48,500 men and 56,343 women aged 50 and older.
All had participated in a large cancer study which asked them to provide information about weight and waistlines.
Deaths among the participants and their causes were tracked for a total of nine years.
The results, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, showed having a very large waist roughly doubled the risk of death during the study period for both men and women.
The pattern was seen in men with a waist circumference of 47 inches or more, and women measuring at least 42 inches around the middle.
This was after making adjustments to take account of body mass index - a standard measurement relating weight and height - and other risk factors.