What's the problem with belly fat?
who gain belly fat are at greater risk of serious health problems than
are people who accumulate fat in other areas — and men are more likely
than women to gain weight around the waist. Having a large amount of
belly fat increases your risk of:
Some types of cancer
Type 2 diabetes
Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol
How can you tell if you have too much belly fat?
waist size is a good indicator of whether you have too much belly fat.
Although measurements that compare your hip and waist circumference
(waist-to-hip ratio) or compare your height and weight (body mass index)
are more precise, your waist size alone can give you a good estimate.
For most men, the risk factors for heart disease and other diseases
increase with a waist size greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters).
To measure your waist:
Place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hipbone.
Pull the tape measure until it fits snugly around you but doesn't push into your skin.
Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around.
Relax, exhale and measure your waist — no sucking in your belly!
Does age play a role in gaining belly fat?
you age, you lose muscle — especially if you're not physically active.
Muscle loss can slow the rate at which your body burns calories. In
turn, if you don't limit your calories or increase your physical
activity, you may gain weight.
Is belly fat inherited?
genes can affect your chances of being overweight or obese, as well as
where you carry extra fat on your body. For most men, however, the
problem likely has more to do with lifestyle than inherited traits.
Can you really get a beer belly from drinking?
excess alcohol can cause you to gain belly fat — the "beer belly."
However, beer alone isn't to blame. Drinking too much alcohol of any
kind can increase belly fat, although some research suggests wine may be
an exception. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Limiting
yourself to two drinks a day will reduce the amount of calories you
consume and help you avoid gaining belly fat. It's also better for your
How do you get rid of belly fat?
Whether you're trying to lose belly fat or trim fat from another part of your body, weight-loss basics remain the same:
Reduce your portion sizes. Replace your usual fare with healthy foods that contain fewer calories.
Increase physical activity.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get two
hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and
15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, in addition to strength
training. You may need to do more to lose weight and keep it off.
After you shed excess pounds, maintain your weight loss with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Can you reduce belly fat with sit-ups?
help make your abdominal muscles stronger, but spot exercises alone
won't specifically reduce belly fat. The best way to shrink your waist
size is to lower your total body fat through healthy eating and
The bottom line
you have a spare tire, don't despair. You can lose belly fat — it just
takes patience and effort. In fact, shedding even a few extra pounds can
help you feel better and lower your risk of health problems.