You’ve probably heard that extra pounds around your middle are bad for your heart. But a new study has found that excess weight in your belly — a body shape doctors refer to as central adiposity — may be even worse for women’s heart health than men’s.
The study, in the March 6 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association, involved about 500,000 people (55% of them women), ages 40 to 69, in the United Kingdom. The researchers took body measurements of the participants and then kept track of who had heart attacks over the next seven years. During that period, the women who carried more weight around their middles (measured by waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, or waist-to-height ratio) had a 10% to 20% greater risk of heart attack than women who were just heavier over all (measured by body mass index, or BMI, a calculation of weight in relation to height).
Your health by the numbers: Calculating your risk
Research has shown that a wider waistline can put you at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, but exactly how wide is too wide — and more importantly, are you in the danger zone?
Many people gauge their body size by BMI, a calculation based on both weight and height. You’re considered overweight if your BMI is 25 to 29.9, and you meet the definition for obesity if your BMI is 30 or above. (To find out your BMI, use the calculator at /BMI.)
But BMI doesn’t tell the whole story. As a recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows, your waist-to-hip ratio may actually be more important in predicting your heart attack risk.
Here’s how to calculate your waist-to-hip ratio:
- Measure around the widest part of your hips and the narrowest part of your waist, which is just above your navel. (Ideally a woman’s waist measurement should be less than 35 inches to avoid health risks.)
- Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. You’re safest with a waist-to-hip ratio of .85 or below.
Causes of belly fat
Common causes of excess belly fat include:
1. Poor diet
Sugary food such as cakes and candy, and drinks such as soda and fruit juice, can:
- cause weight gain
- slow a person’s metabolism
- reduce a person’s ability to burn fat
Low-protein, high-carb diets may also affect weight. Protein helps a person feel fuller for longer, and people who do not include lean protein in their diet may eat more food overall.
Trans fats, in particular, can cause inflammation and may lead to obesity. Trans fats are in many foods, including fast food and baked goods like muffins and crackers.
The American Heart Association recommends that people replace trans fats with healthy whole-grain foods, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.
Reading food labels can help a person determine whether their food contains trans fats.
2. Too much alcohol
Consuming excess alcohol can cause a variety of health problems, including liver disease and inflammation.
A 2015 report on alcohol consumption and obesity found that drinking excess alcohol causes males to gain weight around their bellies, though study results in females are inconsistent.
3. Lack of exercise
If a person consumes more calories than they burn off, they will put on weight.
An inactive lifestyle makes it hard for a person to get rid of excess fat, particularly around the abdomen.
A steroid hormone known as cortisol helps the body control and deal with stress. When a person is in a dangerous or high-pressure situation, their body releases cortisol, and this can impact their metabolism.
People often reach for food for comfort when they feel stressed. Cortisol causes t
Okinawa Flat Belly Tonic
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With the regular consumption of Okinawa Flat Belly Tonic, one can effortlessly tackle CRP and activated adiponectin, converting the food we eat into energy instead of storing fat cells.
Where did Okinawa Flat Belly Tonic begin?
Amalgamated from ingredients from Japan’s Okinawa, Okinawa Flat Belly Tonic is a nutritional drink that aids weight loss.
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