Assessment of Fat Distribution

Fat distributed centrally is strongly associated with high blood pressure , heart disease, risk of diabetes , and breast cancer in women. Beer belly or an apple body shape is an indication of excess body fat in the upper body. This type of body shape is more common in men. Women generally have more fat around the hip and thigh area by design. The fat in the lower body (pear shaped) carries a much lower health risk than in the upper body (apple shaped).


The waist to hip ratio is used to assess fat distribution. Measure your waist circumference and hip circumference. Divide the waist value by the hip value. If the ratio is above 1.0 in male or above 0.8 in female, the health risk is increased.

Later, an expert panel on health and obesity concluded that waist circumference only is a better indicator for abdominal fat and a better predictor of negative health risk than the waist/hip ratio. People who have a BMI of 25 to 34.9, the disease risks are increased if they have a waist circumference of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.

As technology advances, more accurate methods are created to measure visceral fat. The latest analysis tests the blood levels of a protein called RBP4 (retinol binding protein 4). RBP4 is secreted by fat cells (especially the visceral fat) and blood levels of RBP4 are substantially higher in people who are overweight.

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