Potbelly: A danger to your health

In the past and even among some people nowadays, potbelly was and is still being viewed as a sign of wealth and enjoyment. Many people are of the belief that they are easier tagged the “rich men” or “big men” of the society when the size of their guts obstructs the view of their feet! This might sound outrageous to you but the truth is that several of the people with this belief system do exist.

The other class of people are those who do not like their potbelly but have simply resigned to fate and have just decided to live with it. After all, “a little potbelly won’t hurt anybody”, right? WRONG! Why don’t we take a look at what potbelly which is medically referred to as Central/ Abdominal Obesity is and how exactly it is affecting your health.

What is Central Obesity?

Central obesity is a condition when a great amount of visceral fat (fat that begins to wrap around vital organs such as liver and intestines) has built up around the stomach and abdomen in such a way that is likely to have a negative impact on health.

This involves an increased waist to hip ratio, that is, when you divide the value of your hip’s measurement by the value of your waist’s, you get a figure closer to one or even greater than one. This would imply that the size of the waist exceeds that of the hips. An excessive waist circumference is also indicative of central obesity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), central obesity is defined as a weight circumference of greater than or equal to 37 inches for men and 35 inches for women.

What diseases do potbelly put you at risk of?

Potbelly and Hypertension

Potbelly is greatly linked with the risk of developing heart diseases such as hypertension and heart failure. The high amount of visceral fat greatly contributes to increased cholesterol levels and presence of fat that can clog the arteries in the bloodstream.

Potbelly and Diabetes

Potbelly does not only put one at risk of Type 2 diabetes. It also greatly increases the risk of Insulin resistance, whereby the body stops responding to insulin, the hormone that helps to take away excess glucose.

Potbelly and Kidney diseases

In a previous article (click to read the article), we talked about how strongly the comorbidity of hypertension and diabetes puts one at risk of kidney disease. Apart from this, studies have shown that blood flow to the kidney is reduced in people with central obesity.

Potbelly and cancer

Chronic inflammation is strongly characteristic of central obesity. This inflammation is known to increase cancer risks in people with central obesity. A study showed that central obesity may be associated with breast cancer risk in some women.

Why you should get rid of your potbelly

From all that has been listed above, it can be seen that having a potbelly can shorten one’s lifespan. A smaller waist circumference might just be adding more years to a person’s life.

You should note that not only obese people can have central obesity. It is also very possible for normal weight people to have it. Read above to see the WHO definition of central obesity, anyone who falls into this category whether obese or generally skinny has central obesity and is at risk of several diseases.

A combination of exercise, healthy diet (low in saturated fat and rich in fibers) and decreased alcohol consumption is a healthy way to lose belly fat.