Lose Belly Fat for Better Health and Longer Life

Big belly never looks pretty. It can cause serious back pain. Big belly is linked to dementia. Now a study suggests that for women who are not overweight, having a big belly can increase their death rates. This conclusion comes from a study of 44,600 female nurses who were followed for 16 years. The researchers found that having a waist of less than 34.6 inches and waist-to-hip ration of less than 0.88 is more important than being in the normal weight range. You can calculate your waist-to-hip ratio by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement.

The nurses who were enrolled in this study were 40 to 65 years old. At the beginning of the study, none had had heart disease or cancer. Every two years, they updated their health and lifestyle records for the study, including their physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, and menopausal status. Over the span of 16 years, a total of 3,507 of the nurses died, including 751 who died of heart disease and 1,748 who died of cancer.

Regardless of other factors such as BMI or body mass index, women with larger waists and greater waist-to-hip ratios had higher death rates from all causes, including heart disease and cancer, which are the top two killers of American women. Among women who were in the normal weight range, those with a waist larger than 34.6 inches were three times as likely to die of heart disease and other illnesses.

Lose Belly Fat to Prevent Dementia

Having a big belly in your 40s can increase your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia decades later, according to a new study. Even if your weight is in the normal range, having excessive abdominal fat appears to be very harmful in older age, linking to higher risks of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

In a study that followed 6,583 men and women who were in their early 40s, the participants’ belly size was measured. About 30-40 years later, when those participants were in their 70s or early 80s, the their medical records were examined to see who had developed dementia. It is found that participants with a normal body weight but a bigger belly were 89% more likely to develop dementia. It’s not clear why abdominal fat would promote dementia, but it may pump out substances that harm the brain, as the researchers suspected.