Disease Proof

Belly Fat and Fitness

If you go to the gym, you’re bound to have seen them. Those guys with the pumped up arms and tight-fitting shirts; these guys actually think they’re in shape. Well, they would be, if it weren’t for the big bellies. Don’t get it? This Reuters report should lift the fog. Ann Harding explains fitness means less belly fat at any weight. Read on:
The higher a man's cardiorespiratory fitness, the less fat he has in his abdominal cavity, Dr. Jean-Pierre Despres of Hopital Laval Research Centre in Quebec and colleagues found. The relationship held true regardless of body mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight to height typically used to gauge overweight and obesity.

"This is why it's so, so important for the doctor to measure waist circumference," said Despres, who told Reuters Health he is on a "crusade" to get family doctors to check their patients' waist size and triglyceride levels.

High waist circumference combined with high triglyceride levels signal a substantially increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, he explained.

There is mounting evidence that fit people are at reduced risk of heart disease, even though they may be overweight or even obese based on their BMI, Despres and his team note in the Archives of Internal Medicine. At the same time, the researcher added, people of normal weight with bulging bellies can be "time bombs" for heart disease.

He and his colleagues hypothesized that fit individuals, regardless of BMI, would have less belly fat. To investigate, they looked at 169 healthy men, comparing their cardiorespiratory fitness with their amount of belly fat as measured by computed tomography (CT) scanning.
Dr. Fuhrman runs into the belly fat issue all the time. Check out this excerpt from Eat to Live:
Most people lose weight and then stop losing when they have reached their ideal weight. You are not the judge of your ideal weight; your body is. As almost everyone is overweight, many people think they are too thin when they have reached their best weight. I have many patients who, after following my plan to reverse diabetes or heart disease, report, "Everyone tells me I look too thin now." I then measure their periumbilical fat and check their percentage of body fat, and usually show them they are still not thin enough.
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