Pot belly: is it a sign of good living?

Nonso has got a good-paying job, he is married to a beautiful wife and he eats regular tasty meals. He was very slim as a young man but now, in his 40s, he is having the time of his life and he has developed a big tummy.

This is the This is the story of many people. As we grow older, it becomes easier to gain weight around our belly and some interpret this to be a sign of good living. It is, however, a well-known fact that fat around the belly does increase our risk of developing serious health problems.

Developing a big tummy is the result of fat collecting under the skin of the abdomen and, more concerning, within the abdomen itself. The fat wraps itself within and around intestines and other organs such as the liver.  

So what is the problem with having tummy fat?

Apart from the fact that belly fat increases the amount of cholesterol in the blood (resulting in an increased risk of heart attack and stroke), it also releases chemicals that cause inflammation in different parts of the body result in different long-standing medical conditions.

These are some of the medical conditions that can occur as a result of excessive belly fat.

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer of the large intestines
  • Chronic breathing problems

What can I do about my belly fat?

The first thing you need to find out is if your belly/waistline is bigger than should be and you can measure this by yourself at intervals.

To measure your waistline, use a tape measure like a tailor would do and measure around your waist at the level of your navel (umbilicus). For women, the waist circumference should not be more than 80cm and for men, it should not be more than 94cm.

So if you have a problem with belly fat then it is time to try and get rid of it and the way to go about this is to lose weight through exercise and dieting.

To shed your belly fat, it is recommended that you engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (for example brisk walking, jogging, swimming) every day.

Secondly, watching what you eat will also go a long way in helping you control your weight and your belly fat. Pay attention to the amount of food you eat and make sure you eat lots of vegetables and fruits and choose complex carbohydrates and avoid sugary foods.

So although having a fat belly might be seen by some as a sign of good living, it is actually a sign that your health is at risk. Therefore, you should do whatever you can to ensure that you do not develop belly fat and if you have already developed it, take the steps to get rid of it.

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