'Waist Management' an Important Part of Every Man's Health, Says Ada
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CHICAGO – While it isn’t typically associated with men, watching your waist size and, if needed, losing a few inches around the middle can have significant health benefits for men, according to the American Dietetic Association.
“For men, it’s more about waist management than weight management,” says registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Manuel Villacorta. “For men to be fit and healthy, we need to focus on our guts.”
Abdominal fat carries more potential health risks than fat in other parts of the body. Research has shown that men’s risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers increases as their waistline expands. The culprit: the fat around the body’s internal organs, known as visceral fat.
“For the average male, a waistline of 40 inches or more is getting into the disease-risk zone,” Villacorta says.
Registered dietitians say men’s questions, interests and needs regarding food and nutrition tend to focus on such areas as being healthier; looking good; performing at their best; having more energy; recovering from injuries and learning how they can excel through healthy eating and activity habits.
“Eating better, decreasing stress levels, engaging in physical activity and getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep every day can help keep a man’s midsection under control,” Villacorta says. “Take positive steps to get your waist size down, like reducing portion sizes and cutting back on alcohol, combined with regular exercise,” he says.
Registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Jim White says education is vital for men to take charge of their “waist management” and their overall nutrition and health.
“Just as it’s important to know your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight numbers, men need to know their waist circumference.” White says. “So, get out the tape measure.”
According to White, to correctly measure waist size, bring the tape measure around your back (over your bare skin) to meet in the front on your natural waistline – typically a little above the belly button at the narrowest part of your torso. Don’t hold the tape measure too tight or too loose. Write down the result and use it as one guide for overall health.
“Being fit and healthy is important for men and women alike,” White says. “Men can start by taking charge of the food they eat and getting more exercise. You can lose extra belly fat, look better, and your health will also improve across the board.”