Belly No Good: A Study on the Health Risks Belly Fat Poses

Nov 16, 2015 11:46 AM EST | By Pao Uychiat

Organic food, exercise, diet and BMI are just some words that you hear every day, practically everywhere you go. From the moment you step out of your house to the time you finally pull the shades down at night, the buzz is all about taking care of yourselves. 

Today's generation is health conscious and it's impossible not to cross paths with a jogger, no matter the time of the day. Of course, these same people would be very busy monitoring their BMI or Body Mass Index, criteria used by people to measure body fat. According to NY City Today, there are a handful of people who have normal Body Mass Index but still sporting huge bellies. 

A research that was conducted for more than 14 years discovered that fat belly poses higher risk than obesity. 15,000 people participated in the study and their health records were collected by medical experts to be examined for a period of at least 14 years. 

Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist from the Mayo clinic led the study.

The team concluded that the death rates of people with normal weight but with bigger bellies are twice as more than men who were tagged as obese. However, for women with normal weight but with bigger belly fat have about 32 percent higher risk compared to women who are obese. The team computed belly fat with using not only the body mass index but also to predict mortality. The researchers said that the study suggests that people with normal-weight central obesity may be an important target population for lifestyle change and other preventive strategies.

Dr. Jade Teta, an Integrative physician and also a blogger of Huffington Post said, belly fat is highly dangerous to both men and women, and may contribute to health risks. Dr. Teta said that there are two types of belly fat, the visceral and subcutaneous.

Subcutaneous is the belly fat above the belt. This is the fat belly that can be pinched above the abdominal muscle. It is also the fat that is harmful. The belly fat is stored with the combination of excess calories and hormones like cortisol and insulin. People who lose weight using calorie count, burn belly fat slower. This fat is unhealthy especially because it is deposited in the liver where it can produce substances with inflammatory properties that can lead to heart diseases and diabetes.

Fat deposited below the belt -- on the legs and buttocks -- appears to offer some protection for the heart, although doctors aren't sure exactly why, Lopez-Jimenez said.

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