Abdominal obesity and your health

Pot belly

Excess body weight has serious consequences for health. Obesity is responsible for high levels of bad cholesterol. It impairs the body’s response to insulin, increasing blood sugar.

Obesity contributes to major causes of death and disability, including heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, fatty liver, and depression.

For health, the issue is not how much you weigh,but how much abdominal fat you have.

What makes abdominal fat so harmful?


Abdominal fat comes in two different forms.

  1. Some of it is located in the fatty tissue just beneath the skin.
  2. Fat inside the abdomen.

Abdominal fat  results in ,organ dysfunction, which produces impaired regulation of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as well as abnormal heart function.


Clinical observations and basic research results agree that excessive fat inside the abdomen is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease.


Evaluating abdominal obesity

A simple to assess abdominal obesity is to determine the waist-to-hip ratio.

  • With your abdomen relaxed, measure your waist at the navel.
  • Measure your hips at their widest point, usually at the bony prominence.
  • Divide your waist size by your hip size: Waist (in inches) / Hips (in inches) = ratio

The chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke increases steadily as a man’s ratio rises above 0.95; for women, risk begins to rise above 0.85.

An even simpler technique is measuring the  waist circumference which involves one measurement instead of two, it’s more accurate and reproducible than the waist-to-hip ratio.

To measure your waist circumference properly,

  • Take your shoes off and stand with your feet together. Be sure your belly is bare. Relax and exhale.
  • Using a cloth measuring tape that can’t be stretched, measure your waist at the navel. Record the measurement to the nearest one-tenth of an inch.
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Interpreting your waist circumference

                                                  Men                                   Women

Low risk                        37 inches and below         31.5 inches and below

Intermediate risk          37.1–39.9 inches               31.6–34.9 inches

High risk                       40 inches and above        35 inches and above

Comparing BMI  and waist circumference

BMI will give you the best estimate of your total body fatness while the waist measurement will give you the best estimate of your visceral fat and risk of obesity related disease.

The only way to reduce is to lose weight — and the only way to do that is to burn up more calories with exercise than you take in from food. (Exercise 30 mins daily 150 mins/weekly)

Sustained weight loss requires both caloric restriction and increased exercise.

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