Dangers of Belly Fat: How It Affects Your Health

Because belly fat is so different from other body fats, it’s not as easy to lose. While you can shed some pounds from other areas, stomach fat is likely to persist for a variety of reasons, including your genes and hormones. What’s more, that pesky stomach fat is linked to heart disease and diabetes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change your genetics—it just means it will take some work on your part. For example, while one study found that belly fat was associated with higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), another found that it was associated with lower levels. This suggests that belly fat may be associated with inflammation in some people but not others. It’s important to note that visceral fat has also been linked to high blood pressure, which may lead to cardiovascular problems. One Harvard University study even suggested that having too much visceral fat is worse than being overweight or obese when it comes to long-term health risks like heart disease and diabetes

Dangers of Belly Fat

Now if you’re reading this, you’ve already heard that excess abdominal fat is dangerous and can lead to a litany of health problems. And, while it’s true that excess fat around your abdomen is linked to an increased risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, it’s not as simple as it sounds.

If you have a particularly active day and end up eating more calories than your body “really” needs, your body stores some of these extra calories as fat. The excess fat then builds up around your abdomen, leading to a “beer gut” or “belly fat.”

But, while having a little bit of fat anywhere is fine, when it starts to build up around your abdomen and stick out from your body, it’s called “abdominal fat” or “belly fat.” The excess fat around your abdomen can make you more prone to a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

So, what are the dangers of having too much belly fat? Let’s take a look at some of the common risks and the best ways to avoid them.

Heart disease

Heart disease is one of the most common risks of having too much belly fat. In fact, excess abdominal fat can increase your risk for heart disease by twice as much. As the fat that builds up around your abdomen presses on your liver, it prevents your liver from detoxifying cholesterol properly and reduces the amount of “good” cholesterol you have in your system. This leads to an increased risk for coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.


The biggest health risk of having too much belly fat is type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who have a lot of abdominal fat are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those without excess weight in that region. Having a lot of belly fat means that you have an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, which makes it difficult for your body to process sugar.

One study found that women with larger waistlines had higher rates of insulin resistance, or the inability for their cells to take sugar from their blood into its cells. This can lead to a buildup of sugar levels in your bloodstream, which increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

What can you do about this? Sitting up straight and sleeping on your side can help decrease your risk for developing diabetes by 20%.


Belly fat is dangerous because it’s a sign of obesity. Obesity is when you have too much body fat, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

In fact, excess abdominal fat is the most common type of obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can determine if you’re obese by measuring your waist circumference with a tape measure. If your waist size is larger than 35 inches in women or 40 inches in men, you may be obese.

The other risk of obesity? If you are obese, it means that your body doesn’t use insulin well and struggles to control its blood sugar levels, leading to diabetes. And if that weren’t enough, excess abdominal fat also increases the risk of some cancers like endometrial cancer and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders

One possible danger of abdominal fat is that it can lead to back and other musculoskeletal disorders. The more weight you carry around your abdomen, the more stress you put on your spine and the greater your risk for pain and injury.

Some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders associated with excess abdominal fat are spinal compression fractures, herniated discs, osteoarthritis, chronic low-back pain, sciatica and degenerative disc disease.

60% reduction in life expectancy

The main health risk of too much belly fat is that it can lead to a 60% decrease in life expectancy. Research shows that the more abdominal fat you have, the more likely you are to die earlier than someone who doesn’t have excess weight around their abdomen.

This reduction in life expectancy is due to a number of factors, including increased rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as higher cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes.

In other words, if your health is important to you, then getting rid of your belly fat should be one of your top priorities.

Summing up

Belly fat has been linked to a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. While it’s not as simple as “avoiding excess fat around your abdomen,” there are some things you can do to decrease your risk of these health problems.

One way to reduce the amount of belly fat you have is by incorporating physical activity into your routine. This will help you regulate how many calories you eat and how much energy you expend every day. You should also drink plenty of water and limit alcohol intake for the same reason. Eating a diet low in processed sugars and high in fiber is another way to decrease the amount of belly fat you have. And, if possible, try to maintain a healthy weight by eating healthy food and exercising regularly.

check our post on how to lose belly fat fast

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