Did you know: Where you carry your weight affects your health? Carrying extra weight around your middle poses risks to your heart. A waist measurement greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men carries an increased risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Certain cancers
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
To calculate your waist to hip ratio: measure your waist at your smallest part or over your belly button if you do not have a narrow part (do not lift up your belly and measure underneath it). Measure your hips at their widest or across your pubic bone if you do not have hip curves. Then divide your waist inches by your hip measurement (waist divided by hips).
Big bellies tend to be either jiggly or hard and firm. The saggy, jiggly, bellies most likely have subcutaneous fat which is fat just under the skin. The firm, basketball bellies, where you cannot “pinch an inch” have the more dangerous visceral fat. The fat is wrapped around and compresses the internal organs.
Belly fat compared to fat on the hips and thighs:
- Secretes estrogen
- Is associated with calcium build up in the arteries
- Puts pressure on abdominal organs
- Lowers the HDL (good cholesterol)
- Decreases insulin sensitivity
- Causes a fatty liver (affects insulin sensitivity)
Pear shapes (people who carry their weight on their hips and thighs) do not get off easy. While they do not have the same health hazards, they are more prone to varicose veins and cellulite. Belly fat is actually easier to lose than fat on the hips.