Not all fat is created equally. Yes, about 70% of Americans are either overweight or frankly obese, but why does it matter where the fat is? Well, it turns out that abdominal fat is not only a greater risk factor for heart disease, it is also a marker of inflammation. And guess what? Inflammation has been shown to cause cancer and accelerate atherosclerosis.

Abdominal fat can be indirectly measured by waist size. For men greater than 32′” and for women greater than 31″ is a marker for abdominal fat. This being the internet age, there is actually a website (myhealthywaist.org) and a good one at that, which shows you how to accurately measure your waist size. It also contains invaluable information about obesity and how to help yourself lose weight. Those who have Type 2 diabetes should pay special attention to waist size, because the higher the waist size the greater the risk for serious health issues such as heart attacks, kidney disease and peripheral vascular disease.

Bulging waists mean that fat is likely to be present inside the belly as well. A fatty liver is often the result. This can cause chronic inflammation of the liver among other things. Besides, who wants to shop exclusively in the plus sizes?

How to best get rid of that waist and be able to fit in to that nice bikini or bike shorts again? Yes, diet is important but studies have shown that regular exercise works better to rid the body of the belly fat than diet.  By the way, all those supplements do great at thinning out your bank account but not so well at losing weight. Regular exercise means at least one hour daily on most days of the week of enough exercise to make you a little short of breath. Walking works just fine.

Before you sign up for your next marathon or for that matter embark on an exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure that it is safe for you to do so.