Home » Health » Weight Loss

The Risks of Super Sizing Your Waist

Nov 17, 2007
Researchers and health care professionals often use a calculation called the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether or not someone is at a healthy weight. Recent studies suggest that waist circumference is actually a better determination of health risk than BMI, and that more emphasis should be paid to waist in classifying obesity. Waistline fat poses far more health dangers than does fat stored elsewhere. Men who have waists larger than 40 inches and women who have waists larger than 35 inches have excess waistline fat and are considered obese.

Excess fat in the abdomen is considered a major risk factor for ailments associated with obesity such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. A person with metabolic syndrome has out of range values for any three of the following: waist measurement, HDL or good cholesterol, blood triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, and blood pressure.

Excess waistline fat is often an indicator of greater fat in deep abdominal storage, or even in organs like the liver. These deep deposits are associated with higher levels of insulin. When fat cells enlarge, they produce more of some immune system proteins. These proteins are transported directly to the liver, where they release inflammatory substances that raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and possibly cancer. In addition, fat cells release blood-clotting factors that can affect blood vessels and put the body in a state that favors clots. This is why the risk of heart attack and stroke rises.

People can possibly inherit a susceptibility for storing fat on the waist, but larger waists are most often related to lifestyle choices such as high-fat diets and sedentary behavior. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are the best methods to control waistline fat and help prevent metabolic syndrome. In some cases, doctor prescribed medications can be taken to improve insulin abnormalities.

An important thing to remember is that the heavier you are, the higher your risk of heart disease. Excess weight often means higher-than-normal levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides, indications of how much fat may be also floating around in your blood. The higher the level of fat in your blood, the greater your risk of developing a clot significant enough to block blood flow to your heart.

Studies also link large waists with greater risk of some cancers. Scientists believe that the higher levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors commonly seen with excess abdominal fat stimulate cancer cell growth. Excess waistline fat seems to approximately double the risk of breast cancer in women after menopause, regardless of overall weight status. Since prostate cancer is hormonally related, it may also be affected by sex hormone proteins, which abnormal insulin levels disrupt. Other research tentatively links metabolic syndrome and high insulin levels with a greater risk of colon cancer.

The good news is that losing even a few pounds can make a huge difference. Weight loss can dramatically reduce the risk factors associated with heart disease. When you lose weight, your blood pressure will drop, your cholesterol will get to better levels. Dropping 10 or 15 pounds can help your blood pressure drop 10 or 15 points. Additionally, it's possible for people to drop their LDL or bad cholesterol from 160 down to 90 just by losing 10 pounds.

So what exactly is the ideal waist size? Study results vary. Some show that for best health men should strive for a waistline of 34 inches or less; other research indicates that a waistline below 39 inches is OK. For women, studies show the safest waistline for heart health is less than 29 inches, but other research has found that waistlines under 33 inches are acceptable.

Ok. Now what do I do about it? Believe it or not, it's not going to require six days of aerobics every week to get your waist where it needs to be. Something as simple as one of the most passive forms of exercise is very effective for getting rid of that spare tire. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of yoga once a week could prevent middle-aged spread in people who are of average weight. It also helped those who are overweight to lose those extra pounds. Even something as simple as a 20 minute walk can be beneficial.

It's also advised to make some simple changes to your eating habits. Cut back on sweets, white bread, pasta and rice, butter, cream and other animal fat. Then add more fruit, vegetables, whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and whole cereals.
About the Author
Denise Villani an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on health and weight loss by visiting WeightLossStuff.info .
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 138
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources