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Have You Measured Your Waist Lately? You Could Have Abdominal Obesity …

What Does Waist Measurement Have To Do With Your Health?
Abdominal Obesity

Measure your waist circumference

Waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) are two screening measurements used to assess body weight as it relates to disease risk.  Excess body fat increases risk of developing weight-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.   Although waist circumference and BMI are two common screening methods used in healthcare, they are not used to diagnose disease.  Additional health assessments must be conducted as part of a comprehensive health evaluation to determine disease risk, and if shown, the presence of disease.

What Is Abdominal Obesity?

There are two layers of fat in the body – subcutaneous and visceral.  Subcutaneous fat is located directly under the skin.  The fat layer stored within the abdominal cavity and near internal organs is called visceral fat.  Although both types of fat can increase risk of health problems, visceral fat, also known as abdominal obesity, has been considered more of a health hazard.  Abdominal obesity is defined as having a waist circumference of greater than 35 inches in women and greater than 40 inches in men.

Though general obesity is a risk factor for many diseases, abdominal obesity is a greater risk factor for developing the following health conditions:

Abdominal obesity

Risk factors for abdominal obesity

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • insulin resistance
  • metabolic syndrome stroke

 

What Causes Abdominal Obesity?

As with general obesity, the main contributors of abdominal obesity are excess weight from consuming too many calories and/or lack of regular physical activity.

Do You Have Abdominal Obesity?

A trained healthcare provider should measure your abdomen to determine if you have abdominal obesity.  However, if you want to measure yourself at home, you will need a tape measure, and for best accuracy, someone (family member or friend) to do the measurement.

Steps To Measure Waist Circumference
  1. Standing in the upright position, the point of measurement is the top of your hip bone. Feel for the top of the bone and then mark the area on both sides with a pen.
  2. Place the tape measure horizontally around the abdomen at the marked areas on your hip bones. Move clothing away from area of measurement.
  3. The tape measure should be snug, but not too tight to compress the skin. The tape measure should also be parallel to the floor.
  4. Take a deep breath, exhale, and then record the measurement.

Health risks increase with waist circumferences greater than 35 inches for women and greater than 40 inches for men.

Tips To Prevent and Treat Abdominal Obesity
Abdominal obesity

Healthy eating to reduce abdominal obesity

The main treatment for the prevention and treatment of abdominal obesity is to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight.  A healthful diet of appropriate calories along with regular physical activity will help support safe weight loss as well as improve overall health and wellness.  Consult with your healthcare provider about your risk of abdominal obesity and what methods would be appropriate for your personal health needs.

Click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to learn more about adult overweight and obesity.