After age 40, the body’s metabolism slows, making it easier for fat to build up in this area of the body.
Alicia Sofía Donado de Romero, Nutritionist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
As the theory goes, overeating leads to a bigger waist and to increased cardiovascular risk. The practice behind this theory, however, involves getting more calories than you need from foods that are high in simple carbohydrates such as sugary beverages, and saturated fats such as French fries; this makes it easier for fat to be deposited in the waist area as well as increases the risk of heart disease. In men, this buildup of fat is more noticeable, especially around the waist area. In women, this fat tends to concentrate in the buttocks, thighs and arms.
This physical state is often more common during middle age (after age 40), when the body begins to age and change as a result of the biological conditions and physical inactivity that are generally associated with this period of life.
A more a simple way of explaining this, is that as we age, our metabolism is not the same, just like our physical appearance and cognitive ability. Eating habits and exercise routines therefore become more important to maintaining a healthy figure and diet.
Get to know yourself
“There is a difference between what is normal and what stereotypes tell us,” explains nutritionist Alicia Sofía Donado. Body mass index, weight, height, and waist size, among others, are the factors that help diagnose an individual’s state of health. Scientifically-determined figures and ranges can also be indicators that something is wrong, and can help with the early detection of cardiovascular diseases, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and subsequent diabetes.
“All bodies are different. Some individuals have unique physical conditions and genetic factors that should be examined. Hips, buttocks, arms and legs are some areas where this fat is stored. Fat that is concentrated in these areas does not pose a health risk, yet concentrations of fat in the waist and back area do,” Donado adds. This is because fat in the stomach area surrounds vital internal organs such as the heart and the liver.
Avoiding the consumption of fast foods with high contents of fat and refined sugars, reducing stress and exercising on a regular basis are some of the best ways to prevent your waist from getting bigger and from avoiding that feeling of powerlessness that happens when you can’t fit into your favorite pair of pants. The following are a few interesting facts about this issue.
The accumulation of fat
around the waistline contributes to the narrowing and hardening of the arteries, which does not happen with fat located around the hips.
A few differences
Hormonal changes often accelerate increases in abdominal fat. After menopause (in women) and andropause (in men), the body produces less sex hormones. This change can lead to variations in how fat is stored.
When to be concerned about body measurements
Abdominal girth is an anthropometric measurement (a measure of body size) that determines how much fat is stored in the body. In women, this average measurement is 86 cm (34 in) and in men it is 92 cm (36 in). If a person’s waist is higher than this number, their fat content needs to be checked. To take this measurement, the person should be in a standing position, and after exhaling, the measurement should be taken with a measuring tape at the level of the belly button.
Gynoid fat: fat that accumulates in the buttocks, thighs and arms. Occurs mostly in women.
Abdominal or android fat: Fat that accumulates in the waist. Occurs mostly in men.