According to a study published in Frontiers, there is a global “overfat” pandemic. The World Health Organization defines being overweight by body mass index (BMI). Anyone with a BMI of 25 or greater is considered to be overweight. While BMI is usually a great indicator of being overweight, it is not always reliable, because it does not take into account where people are carrying weight or the different types of fat. This is important, because the “overfat” pandemic is connected to the rise in the number of people with belly fat and not necessarily those with BMIs over 25.
What is Abdominal Adiposity? Belly fat, “beer belly,” or abdominal adiposity, is by far the most dangerous form of fat. While what you consume does impact your overall body weight, age is the main contributor to belly fat. As we age, our caloric needs go down and gaining weight becomes easier. Additionally, our hormone levels decline, and it becomes easier to store fat in our middle sections. This happens naturally, but can be counteracted by a healthy lifestyle and medical weight management, if necessary.
Who is Impacted? The prevalence of belly fat in developed countries is extremely high among children and adults, with men being the most impacted. Countries, such as Iceland, New Zealand, and the United States, have alarming rates of men with belly fat. Over 90 percent of adult males in these countries are impacted by abdominal adiposity. One would think that society is becoming healthier. However, according to researchers, while there seems to be a leveling off of the appearance of body fat in society, the increase in average waist circumference tells another story.
What are the Negative Effects? In general, having high body fat can lead to many health-related issues, but belly fat is more dangerous. Belly fat can be linked to issues with insulin, heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, and early death. Belly fat is also connected to increased risk of diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s disease. To avoid these negative impacts, one should prescribe to a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising regularly and eating clean. Seek medical weight management if you have more questions about your risk factors.