What is so bad About Abdominal Obesity?
Studies have shown that holding extra weight around the midsection reflects insulin resistance, and increases the risk of inflammation, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. The criteria for waist circumference varies based on country and ethnicity.
Recommended Waist Circumference Thresholds for Abdominal Obesity:
Population Men Women
Europid ≥ 94 cm ≥ 80 cm
Caucasian ≥ 94 cm ≥ 80cm (increased risk)
≥ 102 cm ≥ 88 cm (still higher risk)
United States ≥ 102 cm ≥ 88 cm
Canada ≥ 102 cm ≥ 88 cm
European ≥ 102 cm ≥ 88 cm
Asian ≥ 90 cm ≥ 80 cm
Japanese ≥ 85 cm ≥ 90 cm
China ≥ 85 cm ≥ 80 cm
Mediterranean ≥ 94 cm ≥ 80 cm
Sub-Saharan African ≥ 94 cm ≥ 80 cm
Ethnic Central and
South American ≥ 90cm ≥ 80 cm
Note: 80 cm = 31.5 inches
88 cm = 34.6 inches
90 cm = 35.4 inches
Isn’t Fat Just From Eating too Much?
Most people are surprised to learn there are different types of fat with specific causes that drive metabolic syndrome:
- obesity (subcutaneous fat)
- stress (visceral fat)
- diet (hepatic fat)
What can I do to Decrease my Waist Size?
The good news is, a loss of just 5-10% of initial body weight can reduce blood pressure, insulin resistance (and resultant abdominal obesity), and decrease the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Your goals do not have to be unrealistic for you to have a real impact on your health. Many people with metabolic syndrome have lost much more without feeling deprived. Learn more here and see some amazing success stories here.
What you may not have considered is that chronic stress alone can contribute to belly size. This is because of the constant release of cortisol, the stress hormone. So if you do nothing else, prioritize decreasing your level of stress. You may be so used to this constant, low-level energy drain that you take it for granted. You can measure your level of stress and help identify causes by taking a self-assessment here.