Belly fat poses a problem for people who want to look good in their clothes. In some cases excess belly fat hangs over your belt or makes that sexy dress impossible to wear.
But the true problem with excess belly fat is not the fashion problems – it’s the health risks it poses.
Researchers have discovered that excess belly fat is more serious than fat in other areas of your body.
While you may not like fat on your hips, thighs, butt, and arms, these areas don’t pose a major threat to your health. But fat around the middle of your waist does pose a real and serious health risk.
People with excess belly fat often have chronic disease issues.
Belly Fat and Diabetes
There is a direct correlation between belly fat accumulation and problems with diabetes. Having excess belly fat can cause your body to become resistant to insulin.
As you know, insulin is the hormone which regulates your body’s use of sugar.
When you become insulin resistant, you are mere steps away from becoming diabetic. Diabetes is a serious condition that affects your blood sugar and circulation.
Belly Fat and Your Heart
People with excess belly fat tend to have higher cholesterol, higher blood sugar, and higher blood pressure. That means that they are at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke.
The type of excess belly fat you have matters. Having fat just below the skin, but above the muscle is not terribly dangerous. This fat doesn’t have metabolic activity that leads to disease.
However, the fat that is beneath the muscle and surrounds your organs is very dangerous. This is the culprit when it comes to diabetes and heart disease risk factors.
BMI and More
If you’re not sure whether you’re in danger from excess belly fat, you’ll need to take a simple measurement. Using a measuring tape measure the circumference of your waist.
You should measure your waist midway between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bones. Don’t cheat and suck in your belly! Rather, take a deep breath and exhale. Then measure.
What number did you get?
According to the UK National Health Service, you should be concerned if your waist is more than 37 inches for men or 31.5 inches for women.
Especially if your waist is greater than 40 inches (men) or 34 inches (women), it’s time to take steps now to eliminate excess belly fat.
A better estimate of your current status is called BMI or body mass index. BMI takes into account your height and weight.
The easiest way to calculate your BMI is to use one of the online calculators. Here’s one supplied by the US National Institutes of Health.
Compare your BMI with the following chart:
- BMI less than 18.5 means you are underweight
- between 18.5 – 24.9 means normal weight
- between 25 – 29.9 means you are overweight
- 30 or greater means you are obese
BMI is not always accurate. For example, a weight lifter with large muscles may have a high BMI. However, for most people your BMI will give you a good estimate of whether you are carrying excess body fat.
There is still a simpler measurement you can use. It’s the Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR).
All you need to do is measure your waist and your height. Now grab a calculator and divide your waist by your height.
Is the result less than 0.5? If so, you’re doing well. A ratio of one half or more indicates excess belly fat.
There you have 3 ways to estimate if you have excess belly fat: waist in inches, BMI, and WHtR.
Are your numbers larger than you would like? Don’t be afraid of them.
Rather, let your numbers motivate you to stay fit or to start making the lifestyle changes that will help you.
By taking control of your diet, exercise, stress levels, and amount of sleep you’ll be able to get rid of excess belly fat and achieve better health.
Getting rid of excess belly fat will improve your heart health and decrease your risk of contracting diabetes.