Distribution Is Key To Health Risk
knows that being overweight is unhealthy, but the key is where
the fat is distributed. During the past 20 years researchers
have learned that people with apple-shaped bodies (fattest in
the abdomen) have a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes,
and stroke than those with pear shapes (fattest in the hips,
buttocks, and thighs). Some studies also suggest that post-menopausal
women who store fat in the midsection and upper body may be
at increased risk for breast cancer.
are more likely than women to store excess fat in the midsection
and develop a beer belly, whether they drink alcohol or not.
Women typically store fat lower on the body, which is less of
a health hazard (some studies, in fact, have found that this
kind of fat may even be protective in some ways). Because of
these gender differences, sex hormones probably help determine
where fat is deposited. Still, women can be apple-shaped, too,
with all the risks that entails. After menopause, in particular,
many women start to accumulate more fat around the waist. Heredity
and activity level also affect your body's shape.
is it bad to be apple-shaped? Abdominal obesity increases the
risk of having high LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides (fats
in the blood), blood pressure, and blood sugar, as well as insulin
resistance and low HDL (good) cholesterol. This cluster of problems
is now known as the metabolic syndrome, which in turn increases
the risk of diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, and some
cancers. Abdominal obesity has also been linked to elevated
C-reactive protein (a sign of inflammation) and blood clotting
abnormalities, both of which play a role in cardiovascular disease.
fat in the hip/thigh region is mainly stored just under the
skin, fat in the midsection is also stored deeper inside the
body, in and around the liver and other organs. Fat cells deep
in the abdominal area apparently behave differently than fat
cells under the skin of the thighs and hips. In scientific lingo,
these fat cells are more metabolically active. They may release
different substances, for example, more fatty acids which could
explain some of the adverse effects. They may directly affect
the functioning of the liver. The potential increase in breast
cancer risk may be due to estrogen production associated with
you an apple?
evaluate your risk based on your fat distribution, determine
your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) as follows. Measure your waist
at the navel, then your hips at the greatest circumference around
the buttocks. Then divide the waist measurement by the hip size.
A WHR greater than 1.0 for men and 0.8 for women indicates increased
risk. That means that the circumference of a man's waist shouldn't
exceed that of his hips; a womans waist should measure no more
than 80% of her hips.
simpler but accurate gauge is just to measure your waist: more
than 40 inches in men, and 35 inches in women, is a sign of
significant abdominal obesity and increased health risks, regardless
of height. But those are not magic numbers: there's some evidence
that risk starts to rise before those cutoff points.
to do about that spare tire
is no way to spot reduce that is, lose fat in just one area,
such as around your waist. You have to exercise your whole body
- walk briskly, ride a bike, lift weights and thus burn calories.
To shrink your waist, reduce your calorie intake too, preferably
by cutting down on the saturated fat in animal products, which
has been linked to abdominal obesity. And here's another reason
to avoid the trans fats found in so many processed foods: a
high intake tends to increase fat accumulation in the midsection,
according to a recent study. One piece of good news: abdominal
fat tends to come off faster than other fat.
by the way: New weight-loss supplements from Dr. Phil
McGraw feature one formula for apple-shaped people, another
for pear-shaped. This is just a marketing gimmick. There's no
evidence that body shape determines nutritional needs or that
either of these expensive supplements would cause weight loss.
Reference Source 98