Monday, 17 June 2013
BELLY FULL OF DANGER: A HIDDEN DANGEROUS FAT.
By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
Doctors should measure more than your weight at appointments. They should measure your waist.
People with wide girths are more likely to have large amounts of deep-hidden belly fat around their organs.
By H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY
For years, scientists have observed that an apple-shaped figure or a big beer belly is a health risk. But now they have gained more insight into why this is so.
They have discovered that people with wide girths are more likely to have large amounts of deep-hidden belly fat around their organs. It might be the most dangerous kind of fat and could increase a person's risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.
This fat, which is called visceral or intra-abdominal fat, is linked to high cholesterol, high insulin, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and other problems. Researchers are investigating whether visceral fat secretes more inflammatory molecules that are linked to diseases than other types of fat.
And because most people in the USA weigh too much and many carry extra weight in the belly, experts are racing to discover how to reduce the killer fat. So far, physical activity and weight loss appear to be the key. Several new studies indicate that regular exercise, such as brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes a day, can significantly decrease such fat.
At greatest risk of developing health problems from too much hidden belly fat are men whose waists are wider than 40 inches and women whose waists are wider than 35 inches. If your waist measurement is that high, "you've fallen off the edge of the cliff," says George Blackburn, associate director of the division of nutrition at Harvard Medical School.