Health Watch — Heart Smarts: Belly Fat

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about being smart about your heart. Research has shown that having extra fat around the middle — the “apple” shape — may be linked to a higher risk for heart disease. The problem is, you can’t really target weight loss to one part of your body. To lose weight around the middle, you have to lose weight overall.

Dr. Amit Khera, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the key concept to weight loss is burning more calories than you take in. To do that, you need to reduce portion sizes, read food labels and make smart food choices. You also need to increase your physical activity. But remember, there’s no such thing as losing weight just from a targeted area, so doing crunches and sit-ups won’t make you lose belly fat unless you follow an overall weight-loss plan.

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October 2008

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