Insulin resistance, a pre-cursor to diabetes, is a condition by which the body’s muscle, fat, and liver no longer respond properly to circulating insulin suppliesBrown+fat+lipoatrophy+and+increased+visceral+adiposity+through+a+concerted+adipocytokines+overexpression+induces+vascular+insulin+resistance+and+dysfunction.+Gomez-Hernandez,+A.,+Otero,+Y.,+de+las+Heras,+N.,+et+al.+Biochemistry+and+Molecular+Biology+Department,+School+of+Pharmacy,+Complutense+University+of+Madrid,+Madrid,+Spain.+Endocrinology,+2012+Mar;153(3):1242-55.. This means that insulin—a hormone made in the pancreas that tells glucose to enter the body’s cells to fulfill their energy needs—can’t do its job. The result? The body’s cells starve while the excess glucose accumulates in the blood, ultimately damaging organs and vessels throughout the body. What’s more, visceral fat cells also produce hormones that regulate weight and appetite, sometimes leading to further weight gain or increased feelings of hungerAdipose+tissue+as+an+endocrine+organ.+Galic,+S.,+Oakhill,+J.,+and+Steinberg,+G.+St.+Vincent’s+Institute+of+Medical+Research+and+Department+of+Medicine,+University+of+Melbourne,+Melbourne,+Victoria,+Australia.+Molecular+and+Cellular+Endocrinology,+2010+Mar+25;316(2):129-39..
While calculating body mass index (BMI) is a helpful tool to assess the overall health of an individual’s weight, determining a waist-to-hip ratio with a measuring tape is a better method to pinpoint belly fatBody+mass+index,+waist+circumference+and+waist:hip+ratio+as+predictors+of+cardiovascular+risk–a+review+of+the+literature.+Huxley,+R.,+Mendis,+S.,+Zhelezyakov,+E.,+et+al.+Renal+and+Metabolic+Division,+The+George+Institute+for+International+Health,+The+University+of+Sydney,+Sydney,+Australia.+European+Journal+of+Clinical+Nutrition,+2010+Jan;64(1):16-22.. Calculate waist-to-hip ratio by dividing the waist’s circumference at its narrowest point (use the belly button as a guide) by the hips’ circumference at their widest points (near the top of the bony protrusions). Ratios of 0.8 and below are healthy, and those above 0.8 suggest an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Some studies have found waist circumference to be a better determinant and to better express the amount of belly fat presentWaist+circumference+in+children+and+adolescents+correlate+with+metabolic+syndrome+and+fat+deposits+in+young+adults.+Spolidoro,+JV,+Pitrez+Filho,+ML,+Vargas+LT,+et+al.+Medical+School+of+the+Pontifficia+Universidade+Catolica+do+RS,+Moinhos+de+Vento+Hospital,+Porto+Alegre,+Brazil.+Clinical+Nutrition,+2012+Jul+28.. Measure waist circumference at the spot right above the hip bones right afer breathing out. Risk for developing obesity-related health problems (like cardiovascular disease) increases in women with waists larger than 35 inches and in men with a circumference larger than 40 inches.