Belly Fat & Men

Belly fat is nothing to joke about, the health risks are real

Belly fat is nothing to joke about. Find out what causes belly fat, the health risks it poses for men and what you can do to lose the extra pounds.

If you're carrying a few extra pounds, you're not alone. But this is one case where following the crowd isn't a good idea. Carrying extra weight — especially belly fat — can be risky.

The trouble with belly fat is that it's not limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.

Regardless of your overall weight, having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

  • Colorectal cancer

  • Sleep apnea

  • Premature death from any cause

  • High blood pressure

Your weight is largely determined by three main factors:

  • How many calories you consume during the day

  • How many calories you burn off through daily exercise

  • Your age

If you eat too much and exercise too little, you're likely to pack on excess pounds — including belly fat.

Getting older plays a role too. As you age, you lose muscle — especially if you're not physically active. Loss of muscle mass decreases how quickly your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men in their 50s need about 200 fewer calories daily than they do in their 30s due to this muscle loss.

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