Visceral fat? Subcutaneous fat? What are you talking about?
To begin, here are a few statistics that you will never see written on a bag of Doritos.
More than one third of U.S. adults (that is more than 72 million people) and 16% of U.S. children are obese. Further, 2/3 of Americans are either overweight or obese. In fact, since 1980, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled.
Let that sink in for a second.
Obesity is considered having Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater and being “overweight” is defined as having BMI of 25 or greater. BMI, calculated from a person’s weight and height, provides a reasonable (but not always accurate) indicator of body fat that may lead to health problems.
The obesity crisis is here, but hey, we already know that. Here’s what else you should know.
Accumulating fat around the belly does more than cause headaches in front of the mirror. I speak for both males and females. It can cause some major health issues down the road. In simple terms, abdominal fat can be EXTREMELY dangerous to your health.
There is no point of going into too much detail, so let’s keep it simple. There are two types of fat. The first is subcutaneous fat and it’s located directly beneath the skin and over your abs. This is the type of soft, jiggly fat you’ll see on sumo wrestlers. The second type of abdominal fat is visceral fat and it lies deep in the abdomen underneath your muscle where it surrounds your organs. This is the type of fat you’ll see your old man lugging around – the beer belly.
Both types of fat are dangerous to your health, but it is the visceral fat that can cause serious damage simply because it is so close to your organs. It is believed that visceral fat releases large quantities of inflammatory molecules into your body on a consistent basis, exposing nearby organs to potentially toxic chemicals produced by the fat.
The health risks are numerous. Excess abdominal fat increases your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, certain forms of cancer and numerous other diseases. Certain studies further show indication that excess abdominal fat leads to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation within the body that can lead to heart disease.
I read an article some time ago that explained how women who pack weight around their waists instead of on their buttocks and thighs have an increased risk of dying prematurely. These results were based on a study done by researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The study of roughly 45,000 women showed eye-opening statistics. Women with the largest waists (35 inches or greater) had a 80% higher chance of premature death compared with women whose waists measured 28 inches or less. Women with the largest waists doubled their risk of dying of cardiovascular disease – even if their weight was normal – and a 62% greater chance of dying of cancer compared with women with smaller waists.
With so much scientific evidence out there expressing how dangerous excessive abdominal fat really is, North America is still over-populated with people living with excessive abdominal fat. Maybe people really do get used to living with their weight and simply have no clue how it’s affecting their health.
In my opinion, we are lacking the effort. Even when informed, people choose not to make a change. They want to. They know they need to. But they never do. They give up before they ever start.
The facts are real and it is important that people grasp how important our health really is.
If you want to live a long, healthy life and want to have time to spend with your family, you need to take that first step forward. If you want to have the energy to play with your kids and pursue all of your dreams, make that strong effort to change. If you want to continue doing the things you love doing then now is the time to take the plunge.
There are many ways to go about it. A simple exercise routine and a tweak in your diet can put you on the right path.
Visceral fat and subcutaneous fat are the enemies. Eliminate them. Take the time to find out what works for you and your body will thank you. I promise.