It’s no secret that carrying excess weight is unhealthy for your older family member. However, where they carry the excess weight also plays a role in how health is impacted. There have been many past studies concerning weight and health. A recent review of data collected during those studies has strengthened the suggestion that people who have excess belly fat may be at even greater risk for health problems than those who carry their weight elsewhere.
About the Review
A team of researchers from both Iran and Canada reviewed the data from 72 studies. In total, the studies involved approximately 2.5 million participants from all over the world. The results of the study showed that regardless of the shape other areas of the body were in, having extra fat around the belly increased the risk of dying at an earlier age. In fact, for every 4 inches of waist circumference above what is considered healthy, the risk of dying increases by 11 percent.
In addition, the scientists also found a correlation between an increased thigh size and a reduced risk of death. The lead author of the study says this is because the measurement of a person’s thighs is an indicator of how much muscle is on their body, not fat. Therefore, the larger the thigh is, the more muscle tissue there is. In fact, the review found that for every 2 inches of increased thigh size there was an 18 percent decrease in the risk of death.
Why is Belly Fat Bad?
So, what makes belly fat more dangerous than fat in other parts of the body? Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that it has to do with the fat being closer to internal organs. When fat accumulates around the belly it isn’t just in a layer beneath the skin. Instead, it is also in the body cavity where it surrounds the organs.
Having excess belly fat increases the risk for specific health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular diseases.
- Colorectal cancer.
- Sleep apnea.
If your older family member needs to lose weight, homecare can help them to do so. Homecare can prepare healthy meals that include plenty of low-calorie fruits and vegetables as well as sources of lean protein. Homecare providers can also find ways to increase the physical activity of an older adult. For example, a homecare provider could go for walks with your aging relative, making certain they remain safe from falls and other hazards.