Belly fat or visceral fat gets stored around our internal organs, unlike the fat in other places on our body, and can cause many types of cancer.
Being obese or overweight is not uncommon for men and women but there is one body shape that is at a higher risk for cancer. Most of us know that obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. However, you could be only overweight and face an increased chance of developing cancer. And, that's because those with an apple body shape have a higher chance of getting cancer.
People with an apple body shape are likely going to have a bigger belly, and that makes all the difference. Those who have a pear shape, which means having more fat in the hips, face a lower risk of cancer. This is more worrisome for women since they tend to gain belly fat as they get older. White, Black, and Latina women with a waistline of 35 inches or more are more likely to get cancer. For Asian women, having a waistline of 31 inches or more can cause an increase in the risk of cancer, according to the National Center for Health Research. If you want to find out your body shape, read this.
A paper, published in the British Journal of Cancer, combined data from seven previous studies including more than 43,000 older adults. It was a 12-year-long study during which more than 1,600 participants were diagnosed with obesity-related cancer. It was found that being overweight or obese is linked to 13 types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancers, as per Health.
An increase in waist circumference and increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) was linked to increases in cancer risk. Both of these measures were good indicators of cancer risk. The scientists also looked at the hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, which were also able to predict similar risk increases.
The fat in our belly sits around the internal organ and is called visceral fat. The fat in other parts of the body just remains under the skin but visceral fat is more dangerous, as per the National Center for Health Research. One study published in the JAMA Network studied more than 150,000 post-menopausal women ages 50-79 for about 20 years.
The scientists found that women who had more belly fat were at higher risk of death regardless of their weight. Belly fat is responsible for cardiovascular disease and cancer. They also found that even women who had normal weight but had extra belly fat were at risk. However, they were mostly older, nonwhite, and with less education and income. They were also less likely to use menopausal hormones and to exercise.
A different study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology studied over 3,000 men and women for seven years. During that time, the participants developed 141 cases of cancer, 90 heart-related incidents, and 71 deaths from various causes. The research found that people with extra belly fat, specifically visceral fat, were about 44% more likely to develop cancer and heart disease.
Losing weight after the age of 40 might be difficult but not impossible. With age, women lose muscle mass leading to a slower metabolism. This makes it harder to lose belly fat. However, there are some methods to lose belly fat and not all of them include working out intensely. For starters, sipping peppermint tea might help. Claudia Matles, a yoga and Pilates instructor, told Prevention that the tea helps in reducing bloating.
Peppermint can calm our stomach muscles and improve bile flow, which is necessary to digest fats. So, peppermint makes the food pass through the stomach faster, quickening digestion and warding off bloating.
One method is to start jogging, which is a great form of cardio. It burns fat and helps improve heart health along with good posture, says Grace Albin, a fitness and Pilates instructor based in Miami, Florida. "It's hard to run if you're slouching your back, hunching your neck, or scrunching your shoulders. Running retrains the body and mind to hold the torso, necks, shoulders, and hips in their proposer positions, which transitions to better posture in everyday life," she said.
People above the age of 40 might also be spending a lot of screen time, which can be used for cooking healthy meals, spending time with friends, and spending time outside, and even relaxing. All of these would aid weight and inch loss.