Belly fat may be worse for your health than obesity?

I guess it is one more reason to get into shape: there has been recent research to support that those of us with belly fat but a “normal” weight are at a higher risk for cardiovascular death than those that are obese. Good gravy.  Another thing to be worried about, but I guess it goes back to the whole “fat” skinny thing.  You can be within your appropriate weight but if you don’t work out and tend to have a lot of belly fat, this might be the inspiration you need to improve your diet and tighten that tummy!

What’s the Scoop?

New research (within the past two months) from the Mayo Clinic highlights the fact that people with a “normal” Body Mass Index (BMI) with belly fat present are at the highest risk of cardiovascular death, even when taking into account various risk factors such as race, age, sex, diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure).  Yikes.  It has been known that people with centrally based fat (thick around the middle) are at a higher risk for complications from their increased fat, but this is a new finding that people of a “normal” BMI are in this increased risk category.  This study was performed on 12,785 people over the age of 18 for over 15 years, and they found that people within their “normal” BMI with extra belly fat were 2.8 times more likely to die of cardiovascular causes, and 2.1 more likely to die from all other risk factors.  That is pretty significant. You think that you are at your normal weight, you could use to lose a little in the middle, but you are actually at a much higher risk for cardiac death?!?!  Ugh.  One more thing to worry about.

What can I do to decrease that risk?

– Get 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity a day (running, walking, biking, swimming, whatever gets you moving!)

– Drinks lots of water and ditch the high sugar sodas and other beverages

– Eat lots of fiber (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables)

– Get your green leafy vegetables in your diet (power packed with vitamins and fiber to fill you up)

– Don’t smoke (or quit if you do!)

– Eat less saturated and trans fats (they fill you up but they sit in your arteries and slow your metabolism)

– Coenzyme Q10 supplementation may be beneficial (still being researched but is thought to help reduce circulating cholesterol to prevent plaques from building up)

– Keep your Cholesterol levels in check

– Get regular check ups with your HCP

Basically, the best thing that you can do is eat a clean diet full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, getting in your exercise, and talk to your HCP about your risk.  It is also a good idea to check your blood pressure, if you have a tendency towards high blood pressure- just buy one Over The Counter (OTC) from your local pharmacy to make sure that your blood pressure is in check even when you aren’t getting a physical! Talk to your HCP, see what your personal risks are, and try to minimize that belly fat!

Yours in Good Health


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