'Overfat' Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Premier Health Now

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Could your level of body fat say more about your overall health than your body mass index (BMI) or even your weight?

CNN recently reported on a condition researchers call “overfat” that describes a harmful amount of fat in your body, particularly in your belly — even if you have a healthy weight or normal BMI.

Up to 90 percent of men, 80 percent of women and 50 percent of children in the U.S. are overfat, according to a recent study.

Premier Health Now talked with Michael Griesser, MD, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Premier Orthopedics, about the perils of overfat.

“You mostly see it in males who have normal size arms and legs — and probably a normal body weight — but have beer bellies,” he says.

That extra fat puts you at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other health problems. Dr. Griesser sees the negative effect on knee and hip joints in his patients who come for joint replacements.

“Every time we land on our foot, our hips and knees feel five times our body weight. And with running, it can be 10 times our weight. Taking off even one or two pounds can add a couple of years to the life of your joints.”

So, are you overfat? Dr. Griesser recommends a simple test: Use a measuring tape around your waist at your belly button. If your waist circumference is half your height or less, your fat level is in the healthy range. If the inches are more than half, your fat could be harmful to your health.

Conquering the fat goes back to basics, he says: “Talk to your doctor about the best plan for you. Burn more calories than you ingest. Eat healthy and exercise regularly. Do everything in moderation so you can maintain it for the long run.”

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.