In fact medical research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that with more belly fat, you increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. In fact, even if you have normal body weight but more belly fat, then you are at risk.
The study that was conducted on 15,000 adults with BMI of more than 18 over a period of 14 years showed that even in the normal-weight people, with abdominal obesity or central obesity, the risk of early death from heart related issues is increased by 87 percent in case of men and 48 percent for women. This is irrespective of the fact that the subjects were overweight or normal weight. 
This means that only BMI is not the indicator of health risks from obesity. You might be in normal range of BMI (i.e below 25) and still be exposed to belly fat associated disease risks.
And belly fat is not only related to cardiovascular disease but another research study published in Journal of American Heart Association also showed that abdominal adiposity, i.e belly fat, is strongly and positively associated with deaths from cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases.
This relationship is independent of the body mass index, which means that you have higher chances of early death if you have central obesity or what is called spare-tyre.
So how do you know if you have central obesity if your BMI is normal? It is quite easy. You must strive to achieve a waist-t0-hip ratio (WHR) of 1 in case you are male and 0.9 if you are female. You can easily measure this ratio by measuring your waist and dividing it with measurement of your hips.
If your WHR is unbalanced then it means you have abdominal obesity and you need to address this even if your BMI is normal.
It is quite easy to prevent heart disease and other risks associated with belly fat by starting to eat a plant-based and balanced healthy diet along with regular exercise. You may also like to read in detail our advice on how to lose belly fat quickly based on medical research.