There have been several studies the past few years showing that the waist to hip ratio is one of the key risk factors for heart disease. Again, it's not the sole risk factor; it is one out of nine risk factiors.
The waist to hip ratio is more important than BMI.
Here's some links. Google interheart to get more info.
Abdominal fat is more dangerous than fat around hips or thighs. In a nutshell, if your body shape looks like apple, it increases your risk; if you look like pear, it's lower risk.
For women, the waist to hip should be 0.8 or less and for men it should be <1.
Finally, as a personal note, I found out the hard way that you cannot go by the waist size on the bluejeans or pants. You must measure it. When i first heard aout waist to hip ratio, I wasn't concern because my waist size was 36. However, when it was measure, it was really 41 inches. Bummer!
How are things going for you?