Monday, June 2, 2014

Where you carry your fat matters too!

Did you know that where you carry your body fat impacts your health in a way independent from that caused by excess fat percent alone?

The strong relationship between increased body fat and the occurrence of different diseases and health problems is well established and documented in scientific research and has become a common knowledge for most people.

But a good scientific body supports that where fat is located (or fat distribution) is more important than excess fat, from health point of view.


Obesity beyond BMI

BMI (read about what is BMI and how to read it?) has been used for a long time for estimating body fat rate, which is a useful and practical indicator, but since it is an indicator; it doesn't consider body composition like bone density or muscle mass, nor the distribution of them throughout the body, so better and more specific measures are needed.


Belly fat vs. Hip fat

There are number of factors that affect body-fat distribution such as; aging, hormones, and environmental, perinatal, and genetic factors.

Many studies implies that the influence of belly or abdominal obesity has more impacts on health than hip obesity (we agreed that any form of obesity is bad to health); that’s because belly fat is deposited deep into the abdomen, surrounding the internal organs, and producing hormones that can cause a variety of problems, including insulin resistance and increased estrogen levels (i.e. produces more hormones that could disturb normal levels), unlike thigh fat, which builds up just below the skin.

Keep in mind: the larger your waist line (your belly), the more insulin resistant* you become, and the higher your chance of type two diabetes.

*Insulin resistance means that your cells no longer respond to insulin action, which forces your pancreas to work harder, until it no longer produces insulin or shuts down.


The health risks associated with belly fat independently from increased BMI include:

  • Dyslipidemia
  • Memory loss
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Non- insulin dependent diabetes
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Increased risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality


How to estimate Belly fat

Two measures are useful in estimating belly (abdominal) fat and increased health risks associated with it; waist circumference and waist to hip ratio.

  • Measure your waist

Waist circumference may be a better indicator than WHR of the relationship between abdominal adiposity and risk of diabetes.

   -  Waist circumference more than 88 cm for women, and

   -  Waist circumference more than 102 cm for men,

has been connected to alleviated chances and high risk for health problems and diseases.

  • Calculate your waist to hip ratio

A ratio of 1.0 or more in men, or 0.85 or more in women indicates carrying too much weight around the abdomen, which puts the individual at increased risk of diseases mentioned above.

To calculate waist to hip ratio, measure your waist and hip then divide the waist number by the hip number.

To measure waist circumference: use measuring tape in the halfway between your hip bone and bones of your bottom rib -for most people this is where their tummy button is- without compressing skin, and tape paralleled to ground.

To measure hip circumference: Place the measuring tape around the largest circumference of the hips, parallel to the floor and without compressing the skin.


I have too much belly fat, how can I get rid of it?

Well, recognizing the problem is the first step toward resolving it, the answer to your question lies in two words; Diet and Exercise.

  • Diet:

You need to reduce the overall daily calories you consume, and to focus more on healthy & plant based foods, since it will help in weight loss and smoothing bowel movement.

  • Exercise:

Include more physical activities (aerobic and strength) in your routine, to burn more fat and to build more muscles that will ease weight loss and give you better shape around the abdomen.


More information:

Get started in your transformation journey; go to How to use Fitnessyard tools.

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