Many of you may know that being overweight is not healthy for your heart. But not all fat is created equal. Belly fat is a greater indicator of developing heart disease than hip fat.
Here is why:
Fat cells in the belly are not the same type of cells compared to fat cells in the hips. The blood from belly fat goes directly to the liver, while the blood from the hips goes into the body for general circulation. Because belly fat reaches the liver, those with belly fat end up with livers that are blocked. This reduces its capability to remove insulin from the blood of the person. On the other hand, people who have fatty hips have no such problems of the liver function.
High blood levels of insulin cause arteries to constrict which leads to heart attacks. They also have increases in production of fat particles in the liver that are secreted into the bloodstream and increase the level of triglycerides. Another effect of belly fat is the rise of the levels of the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood stream and the lowering of levels of the good HDL cholesterol. While HDL cholesterol prevents heart attacks, LDL cholesterol increases the risk of a heart attack. Individuals with excess belly fat also have an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Medical experts say a waist measurement of less than 40 inches in men and less than 35 inches in women decreases your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. However depending on your body stature, these measurements may be a bit of an overestimation. A high Waist to hip ratio is another measurment that can help predict if you are at increased risk for heart disease. Ideally, women should have a ratio of less than .80 and men should be below .95.
You can start to decrease your belly fat by following a healthy diet and exercise program. Remember to consult your physician before starting any exercise or nutrition program.
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