Men differ from women because they tend to gain weight in one main area—the belly. This produces unhealthy and unsightly ‘love handles’ that more importantly increase the risk of chronic disease and premature death.
The Dangers Of Belly Fat
The Mayo Clinic advises that weight loss is important in men because it has been shown that truncal obesity (a term used to refer to fat around the abdomen), as is often seen in men, is more difficult to get rid of. It causes an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, various cancers, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome and even premature death, making it one of the most dangerous types of obesity.
All Body Fat Is Not Equal
The fat that lies just beneath the surface of your skin is known as subcutaneous fat. Conversely, belly fat is known as visceral fat, named so because it builds up in the spaces between and around the viscera or the internal organs inside the intestines and your gut.
Dr. Dagogo-Jack, president of the American Diabetes Association, explains that belly fat makes toxins that affect the way the body works, including chemicals known as cytokines that increase risks for heart disease and promotes insulin resistance that poses a threat for the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers at the American Cancer Society also warn that cytokines cause inflammation that can lead to certain kinds of cancers, such as those of the colon, pancreas, and the esophagus.
Waist Size Determines Your Risk
Belly fat risks can be ascertained by measuring your waistline: the higher the size, the greater the risk. For men, a waist measurement of 40” or more is in the danger zone.
The Higher Your Waist Size The Higher Your Risk For Premature Death
Research conducted on 360,000 Europeans (Pischon, MD, et al) linked belly fat to early death. This is one of the largest and longest healthy studies ever conducted, and it found that those who had the most belly fat had a double risk for premature death versus those with the least amount of visceral fat (belly fat) as reported in the Nov. 12 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
The study also found that risk of death increased with waist circumference even in those who were not overweight or obese.
The study’s author, Dr. Pischon, noted that belly fat is one of the few individual characteristics, alongside smoking and drinking, that can increase the risk for premature death.
Dealing With Belly Fat
If you have belly fat, you’ll find that it is hard to get rid of. It takes a great deal of motivation to change one’s patterns in life to get rid of visceral fat. Here are some tips to deal with your belly fat and reduce your risk for disease and premature death:
Men can only lose weight if they commit to eating better and exercising more. Going back to bad habits only adds back abdominal fat, and brings back a high risk of heart disease and other diseases commonly associated with obesity.