It is fairly well established that visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome.
In this large study, waist to hip ratio (WHR) better predicted heart disease risk factors than waist circumference, regardless of BMI. Larger hip circumference (in relation to waist circumference) was protective against heart disease risk factors. This is consistant with previous findings.
Low WHR’s are associated with improved insulin signalling, while high WHR’s are associated with insulin resistance.