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Why a fat belly is more dangerous than being overweight

Hello Sehat
Hello Sehat

Hidup Sehat Hidup Bahagia

Jakarta  /  Wed, July 20, 2016  /  06:12 pm
Why a fat belly is more dangerous than being overweight

The worst effects of obesity include an increased risk of various degenerative diseases resulting from an imbalance in blood pressure, insulin secretion, and levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol. Belly fat is linked to several health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Of course, this will not cause serious immediate symptoms, but will worsen with age. While in individuals with central obesity or a beer belly, the effect of the accumulation is faster than obesity. (Shutterstock/-)

Obesity and central obesity are conditions where a person has accumulated a large amount of body fat, but there are differences in both concept and the health risks.

Which one is more dangerous then? How do we know if we have excess belly fat?

Obesity is a condition of excess fat accumulation in the body of individuals that is not balanced by their height. The concept of measuring obesity refers to the value of the body mass index (BMI) from the calculation of body weight (kg) divided by height squared (m2). In Indonesia, if your BMI is more than 27 kg/m2 you are considered overweight. However, this measurement cannot work for musclemen because they may have a high BMI but have much less fat than the average person has. 

Meanwhile, central obesity is the accumulation of fat around the abdominal region, known as a distended belly. A normal measurement for someone’s abdominal circumference (measured just below the last rib segment and above the navel) is less than 90 cm for men and 80 cm for women. Central obesity can also be seen by the ratio of the abdominal and hipbone circumference. If the stomach has a greater circumference than the pelvis, it can be ascertained that the individual has central obesity (a beer belly).

Do overweight people certainly have central obesity? Not necessarily, and vice versa. A person with body weight is more likely to have fat in other body parts, but that fat does not accumulate around the midsection. Instead, someone with central obesity is likely only have accumulated fat around the abdomen.

(Read also: Can you be fat AND fit?)

Causes of belly fat

Similar to being overweight in general, obesity and central obesity are caused by fatty deposits due to the high consumption of carbohydrates, cholesterol and fat and a lack of enough physical activity. However, central obesity, or the beer belly, is often triggered by the consumption of alcohol. That is why it is called a beer belly.

Schroder, a researcher, has proved that individuals who consume alcohol are 1.8 times more likely to have central obesity than those who do not consume alcohol. Consumption of alcohol will increase the intake of glucose that is not needed by the body.

Reasons why belly fat can be more dangerous than being overweight

The worst effects of obesity include an increased risk of various degenerative diseases resulting from an imbalance in blood pressure, insulin secretion, and levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol. Belly fat is linked to several health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Of course, this will not cause serious immediate symptoms, but will worsen with age. While in individuals with central obesity or a beer belly, the effect of the accumulation is faster than obesity.

Here are some reasons why central obesity is more dangerous:

Higher risk of death

Individuals with fat accumulated around the abdomen have a higher risk of death compared to individuals with obesity. This is supported by recent research.

Central obesity remains dangerous even if the individual has a normal BMI

A study by Boggsyang showed that women with an accumulation of fat around the abdomen suffered increased risk of premature death, even if they were not obese.

Other effects

The accumulation of fat around the midsection increases the risk of erectile dysfunction and cancer. This is because of the accumulation of fat in the body close to vital organs in the abdomen that can lead to damage due to inflammation. As a result, individuals become more at risk to chronic disease.

(Read also: Overweight in midlife may speed up Alzheimer's: Study)

Accumulation of fat in the blood vessels

Research by Fan shows that elderly people with central obesity have the potential to suffer atherosclerosis, whereas individual categories of obesity based on BMI do not suffer increased risks of atherosclerosis. The accumulation of fat in the abdominal section, or central obesity, is more dangerous than obesity in general, and can lead to a quicker death.

Four important things to do to lose a beer belly

- Drink less alcohol, soft drinks, or any other sugary beverages.

- Get healthy meals that are high in protein content, rich in fibre and low in carbohydrates.

- Exercise regularly and do things such as sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, jumping, walking, running, swimming and other abdominal exercises.

- Get enough sleep and handle your stress. 

Above all, exercise is the most effective way to lose a beer belly because it can flatten your fat and help relieve stress. (kes)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.