Your beer belly might be one of your worst enemies

Thu, Nov 12, 2015

If there was ever a time to get motivated and rid yourself of that beer belly, this is it. That’s because a new study concludes that carrying extra pounds across your mid-section, even if you aren’t particularly overweight, may be especially hazardous to your health. 


The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, examined the health effects of belly fat in people of normal weight. Previous research already has highlighted the connection between obesity and a range of health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and premature death. 


The new study collected body-mass-index (BMI) and waist-to-hip-ratio data from more than 15,000 men and women older than 18 to determine how the information correlated with any deaths that might occur. After an average follow-up of 14 years, just over 3,200 deaths occurred. 


“Persons with normal-weight central obesity had the worst long-term survival,” study authors wrote. 


The study is just one more wakeup call for people to take better control of their personal health, wellness and fitness, says Dr. Daniel T. McKenna, a general and bariatric surgeon with Aurora BayCare. He was not involved in the study. 


“It illustrates how that ‘spare tire’ across our mid-section is thought to be the culprit behind some preventable deaths,” he said. “That’s because the fat is so close to some of our vital organs and pumps toxins into them. Belly fat now becomes more dangerous than other types of fat stored within the body. 


“Still, this report offers us an opportunity to reinforce with our patients the importance of eating healthier, increasing physical fitness and activity levels and offer guidance and assistance when these things prove difficult for patients to accomplish on their own,” McKenna said. “It’s indeed a wakeup call and a chance to get in front of this and prevent more negative patient outcomes.” 


Click here for more on the study from the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.