Not all fruits are created equal…especially when it comes to fruit and figure.
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that belly fat in apple-shaped people is on the rise in the US, noting:
- 54% of US adults have abdominal obesity, up from 46% in 1999-2000
- Over the past 12 years, the average waist size in US went up 2 inches per woman to 38 inches and up 1 inch for men, to 40 inches
So what’s so bad about belly fat?
People with apple-shaped figures harbor a type of belly fat that is more dangerous than the pear-shaped fat distribution that tends to centralize around the buttocks and hips.
The type of fat that accumulates around the central or abdominal area in apple-shaped people is thought to be more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat found in pear-shaped people.
This central obesity or belly fat, also called visceral fat, leaches into the bloodstream and increases health risk by lowering levels of beneficial hormones, increasing inflammatory substances and even elevating the bad LDL cholesterol levels.
How do you know if you have belly fat?
A good rule of thumb for keeping belly fat at bay is to reduce your waist circumference if you are overweight or obese. To measure your waist circumference, with your clothes off, place a tape measure around your abdomen such that it is snug but not compressing your skin and sits just above your hip bone. Relax, breathe out, and measure your waist.
A good goal is to aim for:
- A waist circumference of less than 35 inches in females, and
- A waist circumference of less than 40 inches in males
Can you exercise away your belly fat?
There are no specific exercises you can do to get rid of “just” your belly fat.
Spot reducing – the attempt to exercise one particular area of the body to lose weight there – does not work. Instead, a comprehensive approach to physical activity and balanced eating that causes overall weight loss, is the only way to in turn reduce belly fat.