What Is Overfat and What Does It Mean for Our Health?

Dr, Donna Restivo

Posted on September 07 2017

If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you may have seen reports of a study indicating that 90% of American men and 76% of the world’s population are “overfat.” You may be asking yourself, what is overfat? How is it similar or different from being obese or overweight? While there’s no need to be unduly alarmed by this new study, it is important to consider it as it may have serious health implications.

 

Overfat Refers to a Specific Type of Fat

Obesity is measured in many ways, but one of the most common methods is through the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by their height. Obesity is a condition associated with having large amounts of excess body fat. It can cause a number of health issues and has been considered an epidemic in our society since the 1990s. There are a number of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that contribute to obesity.

When someone is overweight, they are simply considered above the weight that is normal for their age, height, and body type. They may or may not be obese. The most common causes of being overweight are poor diet and a lack of physical exercise.

Overfat refers specifically to an excess level of abdominal fat (fat around the midsection). The qualification is not dependent upon a person’s weight. In fact, it is possible to be overfat even if you are within your normal weight range. It is most common in men, as they tend to store more fat in their abdominal areas, but as many as 80% of women are overfat in countries most affected.

 

What is Overfat Doing to Our Health?

Abdominal fat is largely considered to be the most detrimental type of fat in our bodies. It is mostly visceral fat, which means it resides deep in the body and has a more direct effect on our organs and bodily functions. Subcutaneous fat is the kind you can pinch with your fingers, and while it is cause for concern, it is not considered as much of a health risk.

According to the Harvard School of Medicine, “visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.”

So, what is overfat science going to change about our health? Not much, actually. The health risks of being overfat have always existed. We just have a better understanding of what being overfat means and how we can fight it.

 

What Can We Do About It?

The good news is this type of fat responds very well to healthy changes in diet and lifestyle. It is not typically the “stubborn” type of fat that people have difficulty with when they are attempting to lose weight. Reducing sugars, eating more lean protein, and replacing simple and refined carbohydrates with complex ones can help.

And even regular, moderate physical activity can help control weight and reduce your visceral fat. In other words, many of the methods we typically use to lose weight already can also help with our overfat issue.


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