Studies Show Belly Fat Increases Risk For Heart Disease

Health Topics

In recent years, studies have shown that being overweight or obese is not the main concern when it comes to heart disease, but rather, where your excess weight lies on your body.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (AIM) found that people with extra weight in their middle or belly area. called central obesity. are at a higher risk of dying of heart disease than people without extra weight in their midsection.

This risk was true even for people who were considered normal weight – not overweight or obese – but just had a wider waistline, or a spare tire, as it is sometimes known, according to AIM. The study included more than 15,000 adults.

Though some exercise outlets promise crunches and sit-ups will cut through belly fat, exercises like these strengthen and tone abdominal muscles rather than reduce fat.

Instead, a consistent exercise routine and a low-cholesterol diet, which will help improve blood pressure, has been linked to increased ability to lose belly fat.

The National Institutes of Health recommends the following steps to help change your behavior to lead to lifelong diet and exercise changes:

  • Avoid food rewards. It can be easy to want to treat yourself with a food treat when you reach a goal. But a better plan is to treat yourself with an activity or object to help avoid making food as something to work toward.
  • Plan for success. Set small goals for both diet and exercise and follow them up with rewards as you reach each one. Make sure to have additional goals and rewards ready to keep moving you forward.
  • Self-monitor. Keep a journal of what you’re eating, including calorie and cholesterol counts. Record your physical activity throughout the day to help see how much you’ve done and when you need to step up your game.
  • Set useful goals. Goals should be specific, doable, and forgiving for the times that you don’t quite achieve what you had planned. 
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