611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

member support line
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


powered by centersite dot net
Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Weight-Loss Surgery Might Also Help Prevent CataractsAHA News: What to Tell Your Young Teen About Their Shot at the COVID-19 VaccineWhat Works Best to Ease Recurrent Ear Infections in Kids?Mixing COVID Vaccines Might Raise Odds for Minor Reactions: StudyCOVID More Lethal for People Living With HIVNew Drug Shows Promise Against Tough-to-Manage AsthmaFully Vaccinated Can Shed Masks in Most Outdoor, Indoor Settings: CDCAHA News: 5 Things to Know About Blood Pressure Before It's a ProblemModerna Vaccine Can Trigger Red, Itchy 'COVID Arm,' But It's TemporaryCould a Vaccine Against Future Pandemics Be on the Way?Debunking Social Media Myth, Study Finds COVID Vaccine Won't Harm PlacentaU.S. Seniors Are Getting Fewer Abdominal SurgeriesMost Severe COVID Cases Involve Neuro Issues, and They're More Often FatalAny COVID-19 Infection Raises Odds for Lingering Symptoms, Study FindsNew Insights Into Treating Mild Head InjuriesAlcohol Is No Friend to Social DistancingGene-Targeted Drug Shows Promise Against a Form of Pancreatic CancerFDA Approves Emergency Use of Pfizer Vaccine for Those Aged 12 to 15Ibuprofen, Similar Painkillers Won't Raise Risks for COVID PatientsObesity Raises Odds for Many Common CancersAsthma Attacks Plummeted During PandemicWhy Sleep Raises Risk for Sudden Death in People With EpilepsyLockdown Loneliness Making Things Even Tougher for Cancer PatientsCOVID Vaccines May Still Leave Organ Transplant Recipients UnprotectedPfizer, Moderna or J&J? An Expert Answers Your QuestionsHow Summer Camps Can Shield Your Kids from Allergies, Asthma & COVIDCould Your Child Have a Heart Defect? Know the Warning SignsGene Tied to Balding May Also Raise COVID Risks for MenTime Spent in ICU Linked to Higher Odds for Suicide LaterState of Mind Matters for Survival After Heart AttackFailing Kidneys Could Bring Higher Dementia RiskAir Pollution Can Harm Kids' Hearts for a LifetimePoll Finds Many Parents Hesitant to Get Younger Kids VaccinatedObesity More Deadly for Men Than Women When COVID StrikesIsrael Study: Pfizer Vaccine Gives 95% Protection Against Illness, Hospitalization & DeathReal-World Studies Show Pfizer Vaccine Shields Against COVID Variants1 in 4 U.S. Teens Has Had a Concussion: StudyWhat's the Right Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Heart?U.S. COVID Outlook Shows Big Improvement by July'Prediabetes' Raises Odds for Heart Attack, StrokeA Vitamin Could Be Key to Women's Pain After Knee ReplacementBiden Sets New Goal of Vaccinating 70% of Americans by July 4Wildfires Are Changing the Seasonal Air Quality of the U.S. WestMany Americans Wrong About Sun's Skin Cancer Dangers: PollNot Just About Antibodies: Why mRNA COVID Vaccines May Shield From VariantsYou Got Your COVID Shot: What to Do With That Vaccine CardFDA Plans to OK Pfizer Vaccine for Those Aged 12 and UpAHA News: As Pre-Pandemic Activities Return, So Does AnxietyCOVID Anxieties Still High for Americans: PollCOVID Vaccination in Pregnancy May Pass Helpful Antibodies to Baby
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Men's Health
Women's Health

You Don't Have to Be Obese for Belly Fat to Harm You, Heart Experts Warn

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 22nd 2021

new article illustration

THURSDAY, April 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Extra padding around the belly can spell trouble for the heart, even if you're not technically overweight.

That's among the conclusions of a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA), where experts lay out the heart risks of being "apple-shaped."

It encourages doctors to dust off those old-fashioned tape measures and make waist circumference part of patients' health assessments.

While obesity can raise the odds of developing heart disease, not all body fat is the same, said Dr. Ruwanthi Titano, a cardiologist and assistant professor at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.

"We used to think everything is about BMI," Titano said. "But BMI does not tell you where fat cells are in the body."

Titano, who was not involved in the AHA statement, was referring to body mass index, which is a measure of weight in relation to height. BMI is commonly used to put people into weight categories like "overweight" and "obese," but it is actually a crude gauge.

What matters more is body fat and where it's carried, Titano said.

Research has found that fat concentrated around the mid-section is particularly problematic. A larger waist size can signal more visceral fat — deep fat that wraps around the internal organs. And that type of fat is far from "inert," Titano said.

Visceral fat, she explained, appears to be more "metabolically active" than fat that accumulates under the skin of the hips and thighs. It releases cytokines and other substances that promote inflammation and can inflict damage on the blood vessels and organs.

Visceral fat is also associated with insulin resistance, Titano said. That's a loss of sensitivity to the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Wrapping a tape measure around the waist does not precisely gauge visceral fat. But there is a good correlation between waist size and that deeper fat, Titano said.

When does heart risk rise?

According to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the risk of heart disease rises when waist size expands beyond 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

Dr. Tiffany Powell-Wiley, an investigator with the NHLBI, led the writing committee on the AHA statement.

When it comes to managing extra belly fat, there are no magic diets, she said.

Instead, it comes down to the familiar mantra of portion control, and opting for "whole" foods — fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, beans, fish and lean meat — over processed and sugar-laden foods, Powell-Wiley said.

As for exercise, the good news is that grueling workouts are not necessary.

"It's aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart pumping, that's best for reducing abdominal fat," Powell-Wiley said.

Research suggests that moderate aerobic exercise, for 150 minutes a week, can do the job, Powell-Wiley said. And that includes activities like brisk walking.

Plus, she noted, exercise has many benefits beyond trimming waistlines. It improves cardiovascular fitness, which helps prevent heart disease, and makes daily tasks like stair-climbing easier. Exercise can also help people sleep more soundly, manage stress and just feel better, Powell-Wiley said.

"We're trying to move away from focusing on weight loss, and putting more attention on adopting a healthy lifestyle," she said.

One reason is because people can become discouraged if they don't see a big change on their bathroom scale.

But weight does not tell the whole story, Titano said. Body composition can change with exercise, meaning that fat around the middle may wither while muscle mass increases, she explained. That could show up as little change on the scale.

Again, Powell-Wiley said, that tape measure can come in handy if you want to track changes in your belly fat over time: Wrap it around your middle, just above the hip bones, and take the measurement after an exhalation.

Beyond that, Powell-Wiley said, you can take stock of how regular exercise and healthier eating make you feel — whether you have more energy, less fatigue and greater capacity to manage those stairs.

She also stressed that no one is finger-wagging. Daily walks and diet changes are often talked about as "simple," but that may not be the case for people who lack time for exercise and money for healthy food, she noted.

The statement was published online April 22 in the AHA journal Circulation.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has advice on maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle.

SOURCES: Tiffany M. Powell-Wiley, MD, MPH, chief, Social Determinants of Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk Laboratory, U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Ruwanthi Titano, MD, assistant professor, medicine/cardiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Circulation, April 22, 2021, online