Why is belly fat bad for your health?

March 17, 2011

I guess we would have to be living under a rock not to have heard health messages about belly fat. What I remember hearing the most is something like, “Belly fat is bad for you.” or “You want to concentrate on that belly fat.”  And what I really got out of the messages had to do more with how we look–that belly fat is not attractive–than how it relates to health. I had seen a number of programs addressing how to get rid of belly fat [ http://www.meandjorge.com/] but never really made a connection with why in terms of health. Until the other day…

I can’t even say what program was on as I was making a meal but I heard them say that belly fat is especially harmful for our health because it is fat that works it way between and around our organs. That it literally does harm by wrapping our kidneys, liver, and intestines in fat… that was a rather horrifying image. The program went on to say that one cannot have belly fat liposuctioned away…because it is wrapping and twisting its way through our insides. The fat that can be liposuctioned away is just beneath the skin… [see this for a discussion,   http://blog.healia.com/00488/belly-fat-damages-blood-vessels-could-cause-cardiovascular-problems]

To me, this is an example of one of those messages that needs to be clearer. I especially think that men are being shown as at risk for having belly fat…but the emphasis is too often placed on how the men look and not on what is really happening inside their bodies when the pounds add up around their middles…

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8 Responses to “Why is belly fat bad for your health?”

  1. Saras Bellur says:

    I came across this article that adds to your argument that it’s really belly fat that is related to several health risks.

    It mentions that researchers are arguing for a Body Adiposity Index (BAI) to replace regular Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations.

    How we “define” healthy weight in everyday talk sure seems to be changing. Here is the link http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/excess-weight-doesnt-always-equal-health-risks-experts/article1937595/

  2. Kori Federici says:

    This article and how you wrote about your discovery of the affects of body fat to your organs can be broken down into the stages of change through your interpreatation of it and how it will help readers such as myself be more aware.

    First, precontemplation took place when your awareness was increased when you learned that the fat can wrap around internal organs. This, in return made me (as a reader) aware of this as well.

    Second, your contemplation was your own “horrifying image” you now had in your head about this fat attacking your organs that I now have as well.

    Third, preparation is where you evaluated that this message should be more clear when telling people why body fat is not good for you. It is more than a physical downfall, but effects your insides as well. I took this as the time to plan on how I could keep off body fat.

    Fourth, action I beleive took place when you wrote this article. I personally would have never known that the fat literally wraps around your organs if you did not write this. You are helping others documenting about your findings. This has made me focus more on what I eat as well as how often i exersice.

    Fifth, maintnence I beleive affects me more as the reader because now that I know body fact can hurt me significantly internally, I will strive harder to keep any type of body fat off of me when I do exersice.

    Last, the evaluation will have to come later when I see the results of sticking to my plan to keep off body fat. I am already active and try to eat as healthy as possible and that is working pretty well so far.

  3. Melissa Van Alstyne says:

    The Transtheoretical Model can be directly applied to this post about realizing the actual health dangers of belly fat.

    Imagine a person at home listening to the program this information was addressed on. Upon hearing this information they are brought to awareness of the inherit dangers of belly fat which they were not aware of previously, thus entering the pre-contemplation stage. They have moved from a place where they understood belly fat to just be unattractive to a new place where they are made aware that there are actual health risks involved with belly fat.

    After becoming aware of this knowledge, they contemplate how this new information affects not only their current life but also life down the road; entering the contemplation stage. They start thinking about how allowing belly fat to go uncontrolled will endanger their life, not only now but in the future, and how they feel about this startling conclusion. They consider their feelings about this new health situation they are presented and their feelings towards perhaps making changes.

    After understanding and evaluating their feelings about their new situation, the individual will most likely develop a plan as to how to deal with this new health threat, which is the preparation stage. They might talk to friends and family about exercises and diets that target belly fat or do research about how to manage belly fat throughout their life. They will evaluate their current lifestyle and environment, and look for places where they will need to make changes.

    After making a plan the person will introduce their new lifestyle into their daily routine; putting plan into action. It is committing to these new actions that can prove most tricky for people. In this case in order to battle belly fat, the individual might start out with simple changes to their lifestyle so as to ease into their new routine, such as taking the stairs rather than taking an elevator as a way to implement a little cardio into their day and switching to light olive oil as a cooking tool rather than butter.

    Maintaining a new healthy regimen is difficult to do, so it is important for the person to keep their spirits up by rewarding themselves for their new behavior. In the case of belly fat, maybe after a few weeks they will buy some new clothes to reward themselves and show how all of their work has been paying off. Also continuing to talk to others about what they do in their own lives and continuing to seek new healthy alternatives to incorporate into their daily routine will keep the person on target rather than having it become boring and chore-like.

    After a few weeks or months the person will evaluate how they are doing in reducing belly fat. After reviewing their progress they will consider how their plan is working out for them, and if they need to make any adjustments in order to make it more effective.

  4. Caroline Gilson says:

    It seems as though there is a lot of contemplation in regards belly fat. We did not know how belly fat was really harmful. As we found out about the real reasoning behind why belly fat is bad we felt contemplation. Now that we understand we can prepare ourselves to accommodate the health risk of belly fat. We can tell our friends that we are starting a new diet which will help us with the undergoing the action. Understanding how belly fat is bad we can maintain and accept our new behavior to get rid of belly fat because it is harmful to the body.

  5. Rondell Jordan says:

    I agree with what Caroline states about belly fat. I also believe that the problems associated with belly fat fall into the category of contemplation. I know that most people are not aware that visceral fat around the mid section can actually wrap around your organs but the majority knows that belly fat isn’t considered healthy or “good”. I think that one of the major problems associated with belly fat loss or any weight loss desires occurs during the preparation stage of the model. In our faced past society, people want all their desires to be filled as fast as possible. This causes the goal setting aspect of the preparation stage to go array. When people are making choices as to what steps to take towards weight loss they often elect to take the option that requires the least work or adjustment of lifestyle and the option that produces results the quickest. This can be a problem because often those options are not viable or either they don’t work and it hinders the action stage from developing. A good example of this is people that take weight loss pills without changing their diet or exercising.

  6. Bobby Jacobs says:

    I agree that problems with belly fat can fall under the contemplation stage, but I also feel that the action stage is the stage where most problems exist. Even if a person does not know that belly fat is detremental to their helath due to the fact that it wraps around , the norm in our society that belly fat is bad anyway and therefore people with belly fat know that they should make changes to get rid of it. People know that belly fat is not viewed as socially attractive and, if a person could chose between having belly fat and not having belly fat, obviously they would choose to not have it.

    With all of this being said, this is why I believe that the problems associated with belly fat fall under the action stage of the transtheoretical model because people know if they have belly fat, they know it is a problem, and everyone knows that in order to rid themselves of belly fat they must eat healthier and work out; but what people do not do is put this plan into action and this is where the problem occurs. People do not want to commit to a healthier life style and it is easy for these people to stay on the same path rather than implementing changes that are needed. Everything can be in place, but without following through with a plan nothing with be accomplished.

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