Obesity

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Is Your Muffin Top a ‘Danger Ahead’ Sign?

By Lynette Summerill HERWriter
Obesity related image MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Do your curves spill over your waistband? Do you have to strain to tie your shoes? Does the mere thought of doing even one belly crunch seem like a pipe dream?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, chances are you are battling the midsection bulge, and as you age it could get worse — a lot worse.

Visceral fat — sometimes called "belly fat" — is fat stored deep in the abdominal cavity that surrounds internal organs. Researchers have warned us for sometime that it’s the worst kind of extra weight to pack on.

Just think of belly fat as a "Danger Ahead" indicator of approaching disease.

Now a new study, published in the March 6, 2013 Cancer Prevention Research, has reported that belly fat can cause colon cancer.

Previous studies have pegged muffin tops to a laundry list of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) and stroke.

Despite any preconceived notion you might have, belly fat isn’t just an inert mass that collects at your belt line.

In fact, experts describe it as an active organ in your body that stirs up and amplifies the response of hormones and inflammatory substances that can cause a chain reaction of chaos throughout the body.

Blood sugars can become imbalanced, fats and clots get into the bloodstream, and cancerous cells can become stimulated to proliferate more rapidly.

Several studies have shown that excess belly fat increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with and dying from many types of cancer such as breast, cervical, colon, uterine, kidney and pancreatic cancer.

However the new research is among the first to “unequivocally demonstrate that belly fat is causally linked to intestinal cancer,” said Derek M. Huffman, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y. who led the study.

“There has been some skepticism as to whether obesity per se is a bona fide cancer risk factor, rather than the habits that fuel it, including a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, Huffman said in a press release.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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