Recent research states the obvious, if you have a big belly you are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The bigger your waist, the greater the risk.(1)
Just standing instead of sitting shows benefits
Researchers in Australia (2) found that:
An extra two hours per day spent standing rather than sitting was associated with approximately 2% lower average fasting blood sugar levels and 11% lower average triglycerides (fats in the blood).
Extra standing time was also associated with higher average levels of the “good” type of cholesterol, HDL, and a 6% lower average total/HDL cholesterol ratio, which indicates an improvement in the total amount of HDL cholesterol in relation to “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Replacing two hours a day of sitting time with stepping was associated with an approximately 11% lower average BMI and nearly 3 inches smaller average waist circumference.
In addition, average blood sugar levels fell by approximately 11% and average triglycerides by 14% for every two hours spent walking rather than sitting.
Get away from the screen. Time away from computer monitors, cell phones and TVs reduces weight. If it is not too late.
A January 2020 (3) study suggests “the importance of limiting recreational screen time in adults to optimize cardiometabolic risk profile in individuals living with overweight or obesity. Using movement guidelines with a screen time component to assess the risk associated with health outcomes in adults appears to provide a better assessment.”
What is being suggested in this study is really beyond the simple understanding that you need to get away from a screen and go move. In this study some of the patient’s had difficulty in movement, in fact they may be at risk for injury unless movement patterns are improved. They are reaching a state of “being too far gone.” This is where movement during screen time may have to be instituted in a safe way by a trained professional. An exercise program while you are sitting in front of a screen. The message here is, you just can’t walk away from the screen if you have deteriorated to the point where movement or exercise can be risky.
If you can add weight training that would be even better
Doctors at Harvard (4) found that healthy men who did twenty minutes of daily weight training had less of an increase in age-related abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities.
Those who increased the amount of time spent in weight training by 20 minutes a day had less gain in their waistline compared with men who similarly increased the amount of time they spent on moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise, and yard work or stair climbing.
More muscle – live longer
Doctors at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA say that the more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely.
The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, is the culmination of previous UCLA research led by Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant clinical professor in the endocrinology division at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, that found that building muscle mass is important in decreasing metabolic risk.
The study focused on men 55 or older and women who were 65 or older. “The greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” said Dr. Arun Karlamangla, an associate professor in the geriatrics division at the Geffen School and the study’s co-author. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.“(5)
The many problems a big belly can cause.
We cover big belly problems in many articles on this website. We have seen many patients in more 33 years of helping people maintain optimal health. For people with weight gain, the best tool is motivation. Perhaps these other articles, describing problems with big bellies may help you with that motivation.
1. Siren R, Eriksson JG, Vanhanen H. Waist circumference a good indicator of future risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. BMC Public Health. 2012 Aug 9;12(1):631. [Epub ahead of print]
2 Healy GN, Winkler EA, Owen N, Anuradha S, Dunstan DW. Replacing sitting time with standing or stepping: associations with cardio-metabolic risk biomarkers. European heart journal. 2015 Oct 14;36(39):2643-9.
3 MacLeod L, Bouchard DR, Hébert JJ, Boudreau JG, Sénéchal M. Association between a comprehensive movement assessment and metabolically healthy overweight obese adults. Scientific Reports. 2020 Jan 24;10(1):1-9.
4 Mekary RA et al. Weight training, aerobic physical activities, and long-term waist circumference change in men. Obesity 23,2.1930-739X dx.doi.org/10.1002/oby.20949