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To Take Care of Your Health, Measure Your Waist

Given that two-thirds of American women are overweight or obese, weight loss may well be the single best weapon for lowering the high incidence of breast cancer in this country.

Perhaps most important with regard to the toll on individuals, families and the health care system is the link between abdominal obesity and risk of developing dementia decades later. A study of 6,583 members of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California who were followed for an average of 36 years found that those with the greatest amount of abdominal obesity in midlife were nearly three times more likely to develop dementia three decades later than those with the least abdominal fat.

Having a large abdomen raised dementia risk in the women even if they were of normal weight overall and lacked other health risks related to dementia like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Among other medical problems linked to abdominal fat are insulin resistance and the risk of Type 2 diabetes, compromised lung function and migraine headaches. Even asthma risk is raised by being overweight and especially by abdominal obesity, a study of 88,000 California teachers found.

Over all, according to findings among more than 350,000 European men and women published in The New England Journal of Medicine, having a large waist can nearly double one’s risk of dying prematurely even if overall body weight is normal.

All of which raises the question: How best to shed abdominal fat and, even more important, how to avoid accumulating it in the first place?

Chances are you’ve periodically seen ads on the internet for seemingly magical ways to reduce belly fat. Before you throw good money after bad, let it be said that no pill or potion has been scientifically shown to dissolve abdominal fat. You have to work at it. And that means avoiding or drastically limiting certain substances in your diet, controlling overall caloric intake and engaging in exercise that burns calories.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/well/live/belly-fat-health-visceral-fat-waist-cancer.html

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