Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Risks Associated with Visceral Fat and What To Do About It

I recently began working with a group who decided to participate in a "Biggest Loser Contest" as a venue to get themselves in shape and lose some unwanted body fat.  To capture their progress, I am monitoring their body composition using the Tanita BC-1000 on a weekly basis.  One of the most interesting and critical pieces of data I'm collecting from the BC-1000 is the approximate visceral fat levels of each participant.  Visceral fat is that "deep belly" fat that surrounds the internal organs inside the abdominal cavity and has been associated with many adverse health conditions.

As I researched articles online to help educate these clients and counsel those with risky levels of visceral fat, I came upon a well-written summary on the topic at this link on WebMD I wanted to share with my readers.  In addition to defining it, the article demonstrates how essential and effective exercise is in regards to getting rid of unhealthy belly fat, and references a study that appears in The Journal of Physiology.  It took place at Duke University under the supervision of exercise physiologist Cris Slentz, PhD, and colleagues.

In this study Slentz recommends a 'mind shift' for society that focuses on prevention of belly fat vs. weight loss.  If Slentz had it his way, people would quit thinking weight loss and start thinking health gain.  "Until we are able to prevent the weight that many dieters regain following short-term success, we should place a greater national emphasis towards prevention," says Slentz in a news release.

I fully agree with his recommendations and encourage everyone to adopt a healthy lifestyle which involves eating right and exercising.  Our bodies are similar to an automobile in that the costs associated with properly maintaining it might seem high, but pale in comparison to the costs for repairs!  And if you already are in a situation where you have that unwanted and dangerous visceral fat, get started now and change your life!

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