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Belly Fat - Health Risks

Updated on September 6, 2015

The Absolute Fastest Way To Lose Belly Fat

Woman without Tummy Fat (Belly Fat)


Abdominal obesity or central obesity colloquially known as belly fat is the accumulation of fat around the waist and abdomen. Obesity develops when there is less expenditure of energy compared to the consumption, especially when energy rich fatty food is consumed in large proportions and at frequent intervals. This excess energy which the body cannot spend is deposited around the internal organs like organs inside the peritoneal cavity. This is called visceral fat. Accumulation of visceral fat can have long standing implications on the health of the person.

Belly Fat and Women

Fat is accumulated in women’s body as they grow older. There are three definite stages in women’s life where there is an increased tendency to put on weight. During menarche, after child birth and during and after menopause are the different stages during which women gain weight. The hormonal changes are responsible for this tendency. The style of distribution of fat also changes in women as age increases. Perimenopausal women often notice the fat deposition around the belly.

Belly fat can be extremely disturbing for the women as it can affect their body image. Many look for corrective measures and exercises. But there are a lot of who don't take care of their appearance or health and land up in severe health problems

(Belly Fat) Abdominal Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a term used to describe a group of disorders which can follow abdominal obesity. Excessive visceral fat or the accumulation of fat inside the peritoneal cavity can lead to abnormalities in cholesterol, increased risk of clotting, high blood pressure and the inability of the cells to respond to insulin (insulin resistance). It is very essential to control the belly fat in preventing diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases. It is important to understand that the belly fat is not only the fat under the skin.

Measuring Belly Fat

Abdominal obesity is diagnosed by measuring the waist circumference. It is the circumference which is measured at the level of umbilicus using an inch tape. The measurement is to be taken with light clothing when the person breathes normally. People of India and Asia have a tendency towards abdominal obesity. For this population, the body mass index may be within normal limits; but the waist circumference will be above normal. A value above 80 cm is considered abnormal in Asian population for waist circumference. For the western population, waist circumference above 88 cm is considered high risk.

Belly Fat-What Visceral Fat Does To The Body (The Doctors)

Abdominal Fat and Diabetes

Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas is responsible for the uptake of glucose into the cells of muscles, liver and other tissues from blood. The presence of belly fat will impair the ability of the cells to respond to insulin probably because of the effect of hormone adiponectin secreted by the visceral fat. This is known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance will lead to an elevated level of glucose in the blood leading to hyperglycemia and diabetes.

Other Health Risks associated with Abdominal Obesity(Belly Fat)

Belly fat can lead to hypercholesterolemia –increased level of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and low levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).

Visceral fat acts like a separate organ and secretes some mediators of inflammation called cytokines which may cause chronic inflammations or cardiovascular diseases.

Inflammatory changes inside the blood vessel can lead to formation of blood clots and may result in stroke.

Visceral fat can increase the risk for colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

How to Lose Belly Fat ; Some Suggestions

Diet: Replace simple carbohydrates like white bread, refined rice etc. with complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grain, rice with bran etc.

Consult a dietician and plan the diet so that you do not drastically reduce the intake which may have unexpected deleterious effects.

Reduce the intake of fat and replace saturated fats (red meat, coconut oil etc.) with polyunsaturated fats.

Exercise: Regular moderate intensity activity like walking and jogging for 30 minutes or 60 minutes will be helpful.

Spot exercises like sit – ups may not be helpful in reducing abdominal fat.


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    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Hi algarview

      Sorry for the late reply

      I am glad that you found this hub useful

      Thanks for the visit.

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 5 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      Hi, Thumbi7, I had no idea there were so many risks related to belly fat, very interesting. Voted up and useful and sharing! Stay well!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Hi Melis,

      Sorry for the late response

      Reducing belly fat cannot be done overnight.

      You are very true in advising to go slow on any exercise programme.

      Thanks for sharing

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Hi Brett,

      Sorry for the late response.

      As you said, curing belly fat is all about changing lifestyle.

      The more active you are in your life the lesser the chance of getting belly fat.

      Thanks for sharing

    • Melis Ann profile image

      Melis Ann 5 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

      Great topic as we could all make healthier choices. It is frustrating that exercises focused in the abdominal region do not make all the difference, but they do help. It is so important that when people get motivated to begin exercising, they are careful to start a new program very slowly and avoid injury as injury would set you back from the progress you want to make. Take time, change diet and commit to a life change for the better.

      Voted up and SHARED!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      A detailed and interesting hub. Belly fat is really only cured by changing your lifestyle, a short term workout is unlikely to do it. It is all about changing habits and choices!

      Thanks for SHARING your detailed knowledge of this age old problem.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      hi cecy

      Welcome to hubpages and thanks for the comment

    • profile image

      cecy 5 years ago

      Thats wonderful i must put into practice starting from 2morrow

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Hi Good Lady,

      If you have a knee injury, probably swimming may be better than walking for you.

      Please consult your doctor before starting exercise.

      Thanks for the visit

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      This was just what I needed to read this morning. I heed you warning. I'm overweight at the moment, and my weight is round my tunny area! I think the most important thing for me is to try to walk for 30 mins a day, but I have a knee injusry so I always put it off....time to go for a walk thanks. Voted up and useful

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Hi one2get2no

      Nice to meet you and welcome to this page.

      I am glad that this topic interests you.

      Thanks for the visit.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Hi creativelycc,

      I liked your positivity and optimism:) Lol

      Studies show that even moderately intense activities, like 30 minutes walking once a week, help in weight reduction.

      So videoexercise for three times a week is definitely going to help you.

      Good luck with your programme.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Hi QualityContent,

      Glad to meet you!

      Packaged food will have excess calories in them.

      The best is to eat homecooked food with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Dear Shampa,

      Indian women have a tendency to put on fat aroud the waist. It is more as you grow older.

      The biggest threat in having abdominal fat is the tendency for insulin resistance and diabetes.

      Thanks for the visit

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Hi Aloscin,

      I am glad that you enjoyed the hub.

      Thanks for the visit.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Hi cebutouristsopt

      Diet modification and exercise are required for weight control.

      Consider doing some exercises along with diet control

      Thanks for the visit.

    • Global-Chica profile image

      Anna 6 years ago from New York, NY

      Good info here! Voted up and useful.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 6 years ago from Olney

      Interesting information. Thank you.

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 6 years ago from Maine

      It's so hard to lose the extra fat around the middle, but so important since it increases risks for certain diseases. My daughter brought me an exercise video which I'm going to start exercising to three times a week. I hope it helps because I want to be around for many more years.

    • QualityContent profile image

      QualityContent 6 years ago

      Don't eat any packaged food unless you understand the ingredients. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 6 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and useful!

      I am also a victim of belly fat and it seems nothing works very effectively. I will surely try the methods you suggested.

      Thanks for sharing it and I am sharing it with others.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      A good overview of belly fat and why it is dangerous. I like the simple method for measuring that fat you have. Voting this Up and Interesting. Thanks for SHARING.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 6 years ago from Cebu

      Interesting. I have a hard time loosing the fat on the side. I am doing all the diet but the result is not that great. Well have to keep trying :) Thanks for this information

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      @ Reginald Boswell,

      Thanks for the kind comment.

      I am glad if this hub inspired you to change your lifestyle for better.

    • Reginald Boswell profile image

      Reginald Boswell 6 years ago from Alabama

      Helpful and informative, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, now I just have to do it,thanks . . .

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      yes Ruchira that would have benefited the reader. But the hub was under scrutiny because they have so many hubs on abdominal exercices. The topic is saturated.

      Thanks for the suggestion:)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      A well informed hub thumbi7. Studies also show that people with belly fat esp women are more susceptible to cardiac arrests.

      just my 2 cents...if you could put some videos of yoga exercises or aerobics to reduce belly fat. This will give the reader more insight into it rather than just walking and jogging part.

      Voted up as interesting!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Thank you Sankari, for the visit. I am glad this hub helped in encouraging you to try out some exercises.

    • sankari.nayagam profile image

      sankari.nayagam 6 years ago

      After pregnancy, the belly fat automatically raises and it is a tough task to reduce it. Let me try some tips given by you as well!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 6 years ago from India

      Dear Christianajohan, Thank you for the visit.

      Have a great day!

    • christianajohan profile image

      christianajohan 6 years ago

      This is so good for health. I want to try to exercise but no persistence in daily basis. Hope I can do this.