ABDOMINAL OBESITY AND YOUR HEALTH

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Taken in part from: Harvard Men’s Health Watch)

How Much Should I weigh Doc?…….

It’s a common question, and an important one. It’s important because about two thirds of all American weigh more than they should. It’s important because excess weight has serious consequences for your health. Obesity is responsible for high levels of LDL. (bad cholesterol and triglycerides)

It impairs the body’s responsiveness to insulin, raising blood sugar and insulin levels, and the consequences go far beyond an inflating figure and a worrisome metabolic profile: Obesity contributes to major causes of death and disability, including heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, fatty liver and depression……

All in all, obesity and lack of exercise are responsible for about 1,000 deaths in the U.S. each day. Faced with these risks, it’s no wonder that you want to know how much you should weigh. But this common and important question is actually the wrong question. For health, the issue is not how much you weigh, but how much abdominal fat you have.

Evaluating Obesity
Methods have changed over the years. For decades, doctors relied on simple height and weight charts. But when scientists recognized that what matter is not body weight but body fat, standards begin to change. The new technique is now called the body mass index and it remains enshrined as the standard way to diagnose overweight and obesity.

Beyond the BMI
The body provides a good estimate of body fat, and it’s more accurate than skin fold measurements. As a result, patients in the know are now asking, What should my BMI be? Although the BMI is the official standard, it has several flaws. The BMI reflects total body fat without regard to how the fat is distributed. And although no excess fat is good, one type of excess fat is much more dangerous than the others. New research shows that abdominal fat is the worst of the worst.

Belly UP
In the past few years, a number of studies have called attention to the importance of abdominal obesity, and some of the new research shows that it is a better predictor of risk than BMI.

The Inside Story
What makes abdominal fat so harmful? Scientists don’t know for sure, but new research is providing strong clues. To understand these clues, you must first understand that abdominal fat comes in two different forms. Some of it is located in the fatty tissue just beneath the skin. The subcutaneous fat behaves like the fat elsewhere in the body: it’s no friend to your health, but it’s no special threat either. Fat inside the abdomen is another story. This visceral fat is located around the internal organs, and it’s the true villain. A very new explanation relies on the concept of lip toxicity. Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat cells release their metabolic products directly into the portal is circulation, which carries blood straight to the liver. As a result, visceral fat cells that are enlarged and stuffed with excess triglycerides pour free fatty acids into the liver. Free fatty acids also accumulate in the pancreas, heart and other organs. In all these locations, the free fatty acids accumulate in cells that are not engineered to store fat. The result is organ dysfunction, which produces impaired regulation of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as well as abnormal heart function.

This one explanation is the best of the new three theories (only one was written in this article)

Evaluating Abdominal Obesity
The most accurate method is to use computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

A far simpler method is to determine the waist – to – hip ratio. Measure your waist and hips, your height and weight and give it to me, and I will advise you what the measurements mean in your individual case, or you can Google waist to hips and use there calculator.

Now What Do You Do With That Information?
Measuring your waist to hip ratio to learn if you have abdominal obesity and excess visceral fat is east, but doing something about it is much harder.

Forget abdominal crunches and sit-ups. They are good for increasing muscle tone and mass, which will improve your profile, but they won’t selectively burn up abdominal fat. Gadgets that promise spot fat reduction are even worse: they’ll have you wasting time and money without reducing your waist.

Forget liposuction and apronectomy (tummy tuck) Surgery can remove subcutaneous
Fat from your midsection but not visceral fat. Cosmetic surgery will improve your appearance and reduce you waist circumference, but it won’t do a thing for your metabolism or health.

Simple enough, but very hard to do. To lose weight……eat less! That means reducing your portion size and choosing your foods wisely. Avoid foods that are high in sugar. They are dense. Exercise more, walking two miles per day will substantially reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and premature death. It will also burn some extra calories. Resistance Progressive Weight Training will increase you metabolic rate and burn more calories all day. Remember fat can only be metabolized through muscle. This means the more muscle you have the more calories (fat) you will burn.

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