Dangers of Belly Fat

Dangers of Belly FatWe don’t have to use a measuring tape to alert ourselves to a growing issue…. our moving belt notches are warning us of increased belly fat!

But did you know that your growing waistline is more than an appearance issue? It can be a sign of dangerous health issues!

Belly Fat Concerns

Abdominal, or belly fat, is of particular concern to everyone because it contains not only the padded layer (subcutaneous) of fat below your skin, but also the more perilous layer (visceral) of fat. Visceral fat pads the spaces between our abdominal organs, deep within the abdominal cavity.

According to the Mayo Clinic, having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

  •         Cardiovascular disease
  •         Type 2 diabetes
  •         Colorectal cancer
  •         Sleep apnea

Harvard.edu reports that visceral fat has also been linked to:

  •         Metabolic disturbances
  •         Breast cancer
  •         Need for gall bladder surgery

Men vs. Women

Belly fat collects earlier in men than women.

“In adolescence and post adolescence, men start collecting abdominal fat. It’s one of the reasons men have more coronary disease than women.” – Lewis Kuller, MD, DPH, Professor and past chair of epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health

Men with excess belly fat are also more at risk for what researchers call “all-cause mortality,” or early death from any cause. (WebMD.com)

An unhealthy concentration of belly fat in men is a waist measurement of more than 40 inches.

Women tend to collect fat on buttocks and thighs before menopause. Research suggests that this fat may protect women from heart damage. After menopause,  because of lower levels of estrogen the fat tends to collect in the abdomen, making their risk from heart disease much greater.

Obesity in women has been linked to several cancers:

  • Breast
  • Uterine
  • Cervix
  • Colon
  • Kidney
  • Pancreas

Women may also have trouble getting pregnant if their belly fat is larger than their hips.

An unhealthy concentration of belly fat in women is a waistline of more than 35 inches.

 The Good News

The good news about belly fat is that you can get rid of it with patience and determination!

Abdominal (visceral) fat responds to diet and exercise just as your total body fat does. To win your belly fat battle, add these solutions to your life:

     Eat healthy. Wise choices include:

1.      Vegetables

2.      Fruit

3.      Whole grains

4.      Low-fat dairy

5.      Lean protein sources

     Be physically active. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate activity such as 150 minutes of brisk walking or 75 minutes of jogging a week for healthy adults. Strength training exercises are also recommended at least twice a week.

     De-stress. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat. Find ways to lower your stress: listen to music, read a book, take a walk – anything that will help you de-stress.

     Get more sleep. A 16-year study of almost 70,000 women, according to Health.com, found that those who slept 5 hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept 7 hours. It makes sense that if you want a smaller waistline you should make a good night’s sleep a top priority!