Health Watch - Swimsuit Shape: Fat Around the Middle

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’ve been talking about getting into swimsuit shape — not only to look better at the beach, but also for your health. Belly fat is particularly risky, and not just because it looks unattractive with a bikini. Excess fat around the middle is linked to an increased risk for heart disease.

Unfortunately, you can’t target just one part of your body for fat loss. To lose fat around the middle, you need to lose weight overall. Dr. Amit Khera, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the basic key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. Do that by reducing portion sizes, reading food labels to be aware of how many calories you’re consuming and making smart food choices. Regular aerobic exercise — such as walking, biking, swimming or jogging — is also important. Just doing crunches or sit-ups won’t eliminate belly fat.

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July 2009

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