Internal belly fat: dangerous fat distribution

Almost every second German aged 18 to 79 years is overweight, up to 24.5% of this age group are even obese (obese). Therefore, overweight gains more and more importance in terms of cardiovascular risk. But: too high a weight is not equally dangerous for everyone.

Distribution of body fat is crucial

The body mass index (BMI) indicates the ratio of body weight to height. It is a measure of the body fat mass and serves the classification in overweight (BMI over 25) and obesity (BMI over 30). Where the fat sits, he does not consider. But the distribution of body fat is important to assess both the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Just a few years ago, the importance of abdominal obesity with too much "inner abdominal fat" was often underestimated. Now it is clear: Excessive internal abdominal fat increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In contrast, vascular disorders and metabolic disorders occur only slightly more frequently than normal weight with strong accumulations of fat on the buttocks, hips and thighs. The weight alone is therefore not sufficient to determine the risk for heart and circulation. It should also be recorded the fat distribution.

Fat distribution - apple type and pear type

  • In the apple type (abdominal obesity), the fat accumulates in three parts of the body: 1. on the abdominal skin, 2. on the back and sides, and 3. on the internal organs (for example, stomach, intestine, liver). The main risk factor for the heart and circulation here is the fat in the internal organs, the so-called intra-abdominal fat (inner abdominal fat). Outwardly visible sign of the inner abdominal fat is the abdominal girth. About 80% of men are affected - but also women of higher age.
  • In the case of the pear type (peripheral obesity), the fat cells fill up predominantly around the hips, buttocks and thighs. With this distribution of fat, vascular diseases and metabolic disorders occur only slightly more frequently than at normal weight. However, diseases that occur due to the higher static load, such as degenerative diseases of the knee joint, are just as common as in the abdominal fat distribution type. The type of pear is particularly common in obese women (about 85%).

The different health risk associated with different accumulations of fat is due to their metabolic activity. In the past, adipose tissue was considered to be an inactive substance; today we know that adipose tissue is not just a passive fat reservoir. Special fat cells actively participate in the metabolism, which is especially true for the fat lying in the abdomen. This inner abdominal fat is subject to special biochemical, hormonal and molecular biological processes and has an unfavorable effect on lipid metabolism.

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