How Is My Waistband Affecting My Health?

At one time, we may have accepted the increasing waistband as an inevitable fact of ageing. But we’ve now realized that as the extra pounds accumulate around the waistband, the more off-balance our hormones become.

Fat accumulating in the lower body is subcutaneous (under the skin), while the fat around the abdominal area is mostly visceral (surrounding the abdominal organs). Abdominal fat cells are biologically active and should be more accurately thought of as little endocrine organs that produce hormones. For instance, fat cells have been known to produce leptin and adiponectin, the hormones responsible for appetite satiety and insulin response, respectively.

Visceral fat is most strongly correlated with risk factors such as insulin resistance which sets the stage for type 2 diabetes. Scientists are also learning that visceral fat pump out immune system chemicals called cytokines that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by promoting low-level chronic inflammation. These and other biochemicals are thought to have delirious effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

A European study of nearly 500,000 women and men found that, for women, a waist-to-hip ratio above 0.85 was associated with a 52% increase in colorectal cancer risk.

Another study, by Wake Forest University found that even among normal-weight people, those with higher waist-to-hip ratios had just as much difficulty carrying out various activities of daily living (such as getting in and out of bed, performing household chores, etc.) than their higher BMI counterparts.

Finally, according to a 10-year study by the American Journal of Hypertension, published in August 2006, a larger waist measurement also predicts the development of high blood pressure, regardless of total body fat.

What can you do?

Exercise! Exercise will increase lean muscle mass, increase metabolism, and consequently decreases the overall fat stores in your body. To read more, visit our website, Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic regarding our Prime Time Fit Program; or call us at (905) 849-4576.

By Dana Clark