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  Category: Articles » Health & Fitness » Diseases & Conditions » Article

The Health Risks Of Abdominal Fat

By Angela Reynolds

Abdominal fat has been linked to diabetes, breast cancer, stroke and high blood pressure. For men, especially, a big waistline is a big heart disease risk. Measuring your abdominal fat can help you predict your risk for these diseases, and getting rid of the fat might save your life.

Measuring Abdominal Fat

Abdominal fat is often measured by looking at your body mass index, or BMI. This is the ratio between your height and weight. However, BMI isn't always reliable because of people who have extra muscle weight, or who are very tall.

Measuring your waist-to-hip ratio is more reliable. To measure your waist-to-hip ratio, take your waist measurement at its narrowest point and divide it by your hip measurement at its widest point.

Another reliable way to measure your abdominal fat is measuring your Sagittal Abdominal Diameter, or SAD. This is the distance from your back to your front, stopping about halfway between your ribs and your pelvis. This is a more accurate measure of abdominal fat because it is standardized.

What Can The Measurements Tell You?

Studies have found a correlation between your SAD and risk of heart disease. Researchers have found that high SAD's in young people lead to more serious heart problems in later life. People who are obese younger in life are at the greatest risk.

The fat that surrounds your organs, called intra-abdominal fat, increases sensitivity to insulin and is a factor in diabetes. Abdominal fat interferes also with hormones, in particular the hormone leptin, which can also lead to diabetes complications. People with excess abdominal fat have a much higher risk of developing diabetes.

While abdominal fat does not cause breast cancer, studies have shown that it has a direct effect on breast cancer survival. If you have breast cancer and a waist-to-hip ratio of more than 0.8, you are at a much higher risk. Getting rid of abdominal fat can help you survive breast cancer.

New studies show that abdominal fat is a major factor leading to stroke in men. Men with fat around the belly have been found to be particularly at-risk, as opposed to men who are fat all over. Men with big bellies may be as much as 50% more at risk. This is because abdominal fat has an effect on the body's metabolic levels.

Getting Rid Of The Fat

Taking off the fat involves 2 things: eating better, and exercising.

Most people spend all day at work sitting in front of a computer. We drive to work. And, how do we spend our leisure time? Sitting on the couch. Even if you hate exercise or don't have the time, try aerobic walking. Simply walking can help reduce abdominal fat.

Also, the quality of our food has declined. We drink too many sugary beverages. The best tip for eating is to avoid foods that are high in sugar, and eat lots of fresh vegetables.

This is a good place to start. Reducing your abdominal fat may save your life!
About the Author
Helpful information on reducing your risk of heart disease can be found at

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