If you are concerned about abdominal fat for aesthetic or health reasons, here is how to address the problem.
Abdominal fat deserves your attention
Many people have a complex about abdominal fat; yet, it can also involve health issues. The accumulation of fat around the middle creates more problems than an even distribution of fat to various parts of the body. This type of fat compromises the proper functioning of certain internal organs and promotes the onset of various diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Abdominal fat can often be explained, in part, by a combination of sedentariness (a lack of exercise) and poor diet; that is, high in calories, fat, and sugar. Additionally, it has been shown that exposure to chronic stress contributes to abdominal obesity. A thick waistline is one of the components of a disorder called metabolic syndrome, which is both a precursor state of type 2 diabetes and a predisposing factor for cardiovascular diseases.
It isn't uncommon for a doctor to measure a patient's waistline with a measuring tape during a medical exam to help evaluate the person's health. Ideally, a waistline should be less than 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women. Above these values, the individual is considered to have a higher risk of developing certain chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, etc.).
There is another commonly used method to evaluate abdominal fat and obesity. It is the calculation of the body mass index (BMI), which consists of dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. However, it is estimated that measuring waist circumference is a more accurate method than calculating BMI to evaluate a person's health.
A few tips to decrease abdominal fat
- Choose a healthy and balanced diet by basing your nutritional choices on Canada Food Guide recommendations. It is preferable to adopt healthy eating habits that you will live by for a long time, than diets that you will follow periodically. Additionally, discover the virtues of various diets that have shown benefits in preventing chronic diseases, such as the Mediterranean diet.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption. For additional information, read the following text: Alcohol consumption: steer the course.
- Engage in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week by following the recommendations of Canada's Physical Activity Guide for Healthy Living. Speed walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are examples of physical activities to prefer to burn calories and fat.
- Learn to better manage stress. For additional information, read the following text: Stress—its repercussions on health and the ways to limit it.
One last piece of advice: if, when measuring your waist circumference, you realize that you are above the recommended level of abdominal fat, see your doctor regularly. He/she may decide to prescribe more in-depth tests to evaluate your health.
Remember that your pharmacist is always there to help you and to answer your questions concerning any health issues!