Being overweight poses a very real health risk and should be an issue taken seriously by everyone. As a general guideline a person’s waistline should be their height (in inches) divided by 2, and should be less than 35″ for women and 40″ for men.
Visceral fat, the fat located deep inside the abdomen, can work like an organ. It secretes hormones that can cause inflammation of the vessels and heart leading to cardiovascular disease. It also has a major effect on other parts of your body. It reduces the effectiveness of insulin in your muscles resulting in diabetes, and increases fatty acids and bad cholesterol, while reducing good cholesterol in your liver. The fat pressing on your kidneys increases the absorption of sodium which can cause an increase in blood pressure.
All of these effects together – diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease – lead to what is called metabolic syndrome which ultimately leads to stroke and heart disease.
To counteract these effects requires moving towards a healthier lifestyle. Eliminate sugars and excess sodium from your diet, watch food portions, and be sure to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day. Post-menopausal women need to pay extra attention to their exercise regimen and food portions to counteract the effects of lowered estrogen in their bodies.
If you’re concerned about your weight and how it may be effecting your health, please schedule a visit with your doctor.