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Published on July 23, 2015

Getting Rid of The Dad Bod

July 23, 2015

man and pregnant woman facing belliesThe spare tire, the beer belly, the gut—these are just a few nicknames for excess fat that accumulates around the abdomen. That extra fat can be an indicator of serious health hazards.

Two kinds of fat are found in the midsection of the body. The first type, known as subcutaneous fat, is the fat you can pinch and physically see in the mirror. The second type, visceral fat, is the problem-causer. It resides within your abdomen and surrounds internal organs, such as the liver, pancreas and kidneys, and secretes hormones and lipids that are detrimental to the body’s health. Multiple studies have linked this belly fat to numerous health hazards, including diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and colon cancer.

Visceral fat can shorten your lifespan as well. A study presented at the 2012 European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich found that men who carry this excess fat in their stomach have a higher risk of mortality than those who are considered obese. In other words, the more belly fat you have, the greater the risks — regardless of body mass index.

Eat Healthy, Exercise and Repeat

Deflate that spare tire and get on track to a healthier you:

1.     Eat right. Limit the amount of saturated fat you consume and avoid overusing high-fat dairy products like butter. When purchasing groceries, aim for lean meats and whole-grain products. And just because these foods are healthy doesn’t mean you get to eat more. Practice portion control and don’t overindulge.

2.     Exercise. A bit of exercise can help you lose and keep off abdominal fat. While the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity a week, you might need to exercise more than the minimum to lose weight. Strength-training exercises at least twice a week are also recommended, and according to a 2014 Harvard study, the combination of aerobic and strength-training activities delivers the most successful results when it comes to trimming that gut.

Before taking on any new diet and exercise regimen, speak with your primary care physician to see what works best for you.

What Is Abdominal Obesity?

According to the American College of Cardiology, abdominal obesity is having a waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men. In the United States, that’s more than 50 percent of men between the ages of 50 and 79.

Excess fat on any part of the body is bad for you, but having that beer belly puts you at greater cardiovascular risk. Losing between 3 to 5 percent of your body weight can improve your overall health.

Sources: escardio.orgcardiosmart.orghealth.harvard.eduaarp.orgnews.harvard.educdc.gov

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