Waist Size Tied To Health Risks

Do you have an apple-shaped body? If you do, you might want to redouble your efforts to exercise and eat right.

New research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, has found that a large waist circumference doubles the risk of death in people over age 50. Previous research has shown that abdominal fat increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, and asthma.

What was interesting about the new study was that waist size appears to be a better predictor of health risk than weight, normally measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is based on weight and height. In the current study, even people who fell within the “normal” BMI range, but had large waists for their size, showed an increased risk of death over a decade.

So, if you have a bulging belly – even if you haven’t really gained a lot of weight overall – what should you do? You can’t simply change your body type. There’s no way to magically change your body from an apple shape to a perfect hour-glass figure. But still, you do have a lot of control.

Eat right. Choose healthier foods and eat reasonable portions. (If you choose a low sugar, low fat dessert, but then eat the entire carton, you really are defeating the whole purpose.)

Move more. Walk, ride a bike, swim, lift weights – just move. Moving more will increase the number of calories your body is burning.

And, no, you cannot target your stomach. Doing a whole bunch of crunches will definitely tighten up your abs, but it won’t zap your belly fat. Contrary to what lots of diet pills, plans, and exercise gadgets claim, you cannot target weight loss. You body loses weight overall. Target exercises will just help tighten up those specific muscles (which is not a bad thing), but you won’t lose fat from that area and not other parts of your body.

Losing fat happens because your body is burning more calories than you are taking in. And that leads back to eating better and moving more.


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