Being overweight is bad for your health; there is no question about it. But research shows that where you store fat is more important than how much extra weight you are carrying. When it comes to your health, there is one place where fat is much more dangerous.
The most recent research on belly fat is that people who store it in their middle are nearly three times more likely to suffer from dementia in their 70s and 80s. Adding to that, belly fat also increases your risk for developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
Researchers are still trying to figure out why belly fat is so dangerous to your health. Some doctors think it releases toxins associated with plaque buildup, and even thin people who have extra weight in the middle are at an increased risk for disease.
Genetics and lifestyle are to blame when it comes to your fat storage. Some people are more bottom-heavy (pear shape) and others carry weight around the middle (apple shape). You can easily find out if you are at risk just by measuring yourself. Simply get out a tape measure, exhale, relax and measure around your stomach. The bottom of the tape measure should be even with your hip bone. If you are a male, you should aim for less than 39 inches. Females should be less than 34.5 inches. The higher you are from these numbers, the more at risk you are.
If you realize that your waist is larger than it should be, losing weight around your middle will go a long way toward preventing disease. By losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight you can reduce the layer of belly fat by as much as 30 percent. The most successful approaches to weight loss include a reduced-calorie diet that is low in saturated fat and sugar and incorporates exercise.