Your Belly Fat Could Be Killing You
Author: Dr. Stephen Chaney
But did you know that your belly fat could be killing you? And, the weirdest part is that your belly fat could be killing you even if you are at ideal body weight (more about that in a minute).
Abdominal Fat Shortens Your Lifespan
A group of scientists at the National Institutes of Health recently analyzed data collected from 44,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study over a 16-year period and asked if abdominal obesity affected their death rates from heart disease and cancer (Zhang et al, Circulation, 117: 1658-1667, 2008).
The answer was a clear-cut yes!
The study showed that women with a waist circumference of 35 inches were 2X more likely to die from heart disease and cancer than women with a waist circumference of 28 inches – even if they were at ideal body weight.
Abdominal Fat Can Kill You Even If Your Weight Is In The Normal Range
You might be asking “How could those women be at ideal body weight and still have abdominal obesity?”
There is a natural tendency to lose muscle mass as we age. When we add in the inactivity associated with the American lifestyle that loss of muscle mass is accelerated and the muscle is replaced with fat. Thus, it is actually possible in today’s world to have both normal weight and abdominal obesity – and that is not a good thing!
Of course, the women who were both overweight and had abdominal obesity were even more likely to die from heart disease or cancer. So weight control is not just about looking good in your bathing suit – abdominal obesity is a killer!
However, the good news is that you can do something about abdominal obesity. With exercise and a controlled calorie, high protein diet you can replace that fat with muscle (See my previous article “Do High Protein Diets Reduce Fat And Preserve Muscle?).
The Bottom Line
- Belly Fat may double the risk of dying from heart disease and cancer in women. The statistics are likely to be similar in men.
- Because both inactivity and the normal aging process cause us to lose muscle and replace it with fat, many of us have excess belly fat even when we are not overweight.
- Combining a calorie controlled, high protein diet with exercise can help reverse the process and replace that excess fat with muscle.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.