The New year brings with it new beginnings, new outlook on life with a continued emphasis on Health and Wellness. Out of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2018, there is good reason why weight loss ranked #2 with over 40% of the American adult population is classified as obese. Let’s continue exploring the importance of weight management, because now research is showing that it is not only the amount of fat you are carrying but more importantly the location of where that fat is stored on your body that plays the leading role in predicting your overall health outcomes.
Let’s face it, we are all carrying to some degree body fat which is measured by a “BMI” and a BMI of 30 or greater is defined as Obesity. Recent data states nearly 40% of Americans have a BMI of 30 or greater; however, I repeat, research states it is not just the overall weight/Fat which affects our health but it is where fat is stored in the body. So where exactly is “Body Fat” located:
- Directly insulated around the organs which is called Visceral Fat
- Under the skin called Subcutaneous Fat
Location Location Location Why is this so Important:
- Visceral Fat is the roll of fat surrounding the abdomen/belly area. Have you heard of the term “Body Shapes”? Conclusive research considers the body shape concept as being a better predictor of Diabetes and Heart Disease than the BMI. However, Visceral Fat designs the “Apple Shape”, it is the roll of fat that literally wraps around the internal organs and is not easily removed. This is the roll of fat which gives us the appearance of the “Beer Belly” or being heavy in the middle and above the waist. More importantly, Visceral Fat is most detrimental to health. Please note because of the location of Visceral Fat strongly links it to the risk of acquiring Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke and recently reported Dementia.
- Subcutaneous Fat is the roll of fat hanging out directly under our skin. I like to refer to it as the touchy, feely, hanging fat which gives designs to our “Love Handles”. This form of fat does not present the serious health risk as the insulated Visceral Fat.
The location of the rolls of fat on the body does predict health outcomes! This is just another reason why sticking to your goals of weight loss and weight management is so important. So where do we go from here? What can we do? I advise the following:
- Strive to lose five to ten percent of your current body weight. For example, if you weigh 180# a loss of 18# will provide significant health improvements. You do not have to lose hundreds of pounds to see improvements in your overall health just 5% to 10%.
- Watch what you eat: All things in moderation, consider incorporating in your life style modification the DASH Diet. Limit simple Carbohydrates, consume Whole Grains, Legumes, Nuts, and build most meals around Colorful Fruits and Vegetables, limit Red Meats (avoid fatty cuts of meat), include Fish, Salmon, and Poultry. Always remember, Water is essential and mindful eating is a must.
- Exercise: Walk at least 30 minutes a day, challenge yourself with your steps to achieve 10,000 steps on the pedometer (only if you are physically able). Join a Yoga or Dance class. Get Moving, avoid being sedentary as much as possible.
- Avoid disrupted sleep patterns, get in at least 7 to 8 hours per night. New research is strongly suggesting lack of sleep in various ways leads to weight gain.
- Continue adapting positive Life Style Modifications.
As stated, the location of the accumulated fat in our bodies is paramount as validated by research. Visceral fat is a strong predictor for potentially acquiring pre-diabetes, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
Yes, fat rolls do play a leading role in our overall health outcomes.