Abdominal obesity is bad for the heart: Here are five simple tips to lose belly fat
Belly fat, especially the ‘hidden fat’ in your stomach, is linked to an increased risk of certain health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers among many others. Now, a new study suggests that belly fat is harmful to the heart even in people who are not otherwise overweight, reports ANI news agency. Excess belly fat is also referred to as central obesity, which is not the same as normal obesity. Basically, central obesity is a store of excess fat around the middle of the body and is a marker of abnormal fat distribution. Actually, you could suffer from central obesity even when you have a normal body mass index.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. BMI is used to categorise adults as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. However, BMI does not account for the amount and distribution of fat and muscle. According to study author, Dr Jose from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, people with a normal weight but a fat belly have more chance of heart problems than people without a fat belly, even if they are obese according to BMI. “This body shape indicates a sedentary lifestyle, low muscle mass, and eating too many refined carbohydrates,” Medina-Inojosa said
“The belly is usually the first place we deposit fat, so people classified as overweight BMI but without a fat belly probably have more muscle which is good for health,” he continued, adding muscle is like a metabolic storehouse and helps decrease lipid and sugar levels in the blood.
In the current study, the researchers found that participants with a normal BMI (18.5-24.9 kg/m2) and central obesity had an approximately two-fold higher long-term risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) compared to those without central obesity, regardless of their BMI.
The study, presented at EuroPrevent 2018, a European Society of Cardiology Congress, showed that participants with a normal BMI and central obesity also had a higher risk of MACE than overweight and obese participants with central obesity. “See your doctor if your waist is bigger than your hips,” added Medina-Inojosa.
Medina-Inojosa concluded that overweight and obese people with central obesity might also have more muscle mass which could be protective.
Simple tips to lose belly fat
- While excess fat around the middle poses serious health risks, there are many things you can do to slim down your waistline and get rid of belly fat. These include
- Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are rich in nutrients such as fiber, protein, which promote weight loss and fight belly fat.
- Skipping processed and junk foods that are loaded with unhealthy fats, added sugar and salt.
- Consuming a lot of high-fat, high-calorie foods can cause weight gain and increased abdominal fat.
- Managing stress, which can cause belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. High cortisol levels can increase appetite and lead to storage of abdominal fat.
- Being physically active – studies suggest aerobic exercises are an effective way to burn calories and improve health.
- Getting adequate sleep each nigh – lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and hurt your waistline. Moreover, sleep deprivation can also interfere with your mood, causing irritability and stress.