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Abdominal obesity

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Abdominal obesity, also known as beer belly, beer gut, pot belly or clinically as central obesity, is when excessive abdominal fat around the stomach and abdomen has built up to the extent that it is likely to have a negative impact on health. There is a strong correlation between central obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Who is at risk?

Abdominal obesity is not confined only to the elderly and obese subjects. Abdominal obesity has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease as well as other metabolic and vascular diseases.

Association with diabetes

Visceral and central abdominal fat and waist circumference show a strong association with type 2 diabetes

Excess abdominal fat on a teenage male.

Visceral fat

Visceral fat, also known as organ fat or intra-abdominal fat, is located inside the peritoneal cavity, packed in between internal organs and torso, as opposed to subcutaneous fat‚ which is found underneath the skin, and intramuscular fat‚ which is found interspersed in skeletal muscle. Visceral fat is composed of several adipose depots includingmesenteric, epididymal white adipose tissue (EWAT) and perirenal fat.

Excess visceral fat

An excess of visceral fat is known as central obesity, the "pot belly" or "beer belly" effect, in which the abdomen protrudes excessively.

Central obesity
Central obesity

Apple versus pear shape

This body type is also known as "apple shaped‚" as opposed to "pear shaped‚" in which fat is deposited on the hips and buttocks. Scientists have come to recognize that body fat, instead of body weight, is the key to evaluating obesity.

Risk factors

  • Poor diet, low levels of physical activity, and high levels of sedentary activities are risk factors for obesity.
  • Because diet and activity are modifiable factors, addressing this risk requires an understanding of their contribution to obesity.
  • A meta-study of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data sets showed leisure-time physical activity to be inversely associated with obesity.
  • In the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, transportation-related physical activity was shown to lessen or reverse effects of weight gain.
  • Multiple studies have shown an association between sedentary activity and increased rates of obesity, independent of physical activity.

How to measure abdominal obesity?

Abdominal obesity (waist circumference ≥102 cm for men and ≥88 cm for women), independent of body mass index (BMI) (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), has been associated with major chronic diseases and all-cause mortality.

Systemic inflammation and abdominal fat

Abdominal fat, rather than total body fat, was found to be the cause of the systemic inflammation that contributes to chronic disease.

Sedenterism and abdominal obesity

  • Intervention and population studies have indicated that being sedentary or having a low fitness level is also associated with visceral fat accumulation. Various sedentary activities are differentially associated with cardiometabolic factors, including abdominal obesity (10). Associations between sedentary activity and obesity differ between the sexes.

See also

Latest research (Pubmed)

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