Why does belly fat occur?

Why people develop belly fat remains a mystery. There are a lot of theories and speculations but no one really knows. Some health professionals claim that belly fat is due to age, others claim hormones, and yet others claim genes. One fact is known- as you get older, belly fat increases. This is especially true in females after menopause. There has been a lot of research which shows that gaining belly fat is not good for health. Experts claim that excess belly fat increases chances of heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, and ever some cancers.

One should not be disheartened by such news. Unlike fat anywhere else on the body, belly fat can be decreased by changes in diet and lifestyle. One of the reasons why fat occurs around the belly is due to age and slowing down of metabolism. With age, the body slows down in its ability to breakdown fat, and this eventually results in fat accumulation in the body. Women generally tend to gain more weight after menopause due to slowing of metabolism. During this time period, the fat distribution also changes, and fat starts to gather around the belly and there is less fat in the arms, legs, and hips.

When belly fat accumulates, it is not only on surface of the abdomen but deep down there is a heavy-rim laddened down with fat. This deeper layer of fat around the belly has been associated with heart problems, diabetes, and breathing problems.

Even though everyone agrees that there is a decrease in metabolism of fat with age, why does fat disproportionally deposit in the belly? No one has the answer, but most experts claim it is genes- you just have a tendency to collect fat in that part of the body. While hormones have been blamed, it is not understood why hormones would cause fat to be deposited solely around the belly. The odd observation is that some women notice a rapid gain in fat around the belly without gain in weight anywhere else on the body. Even though one may not have fat elsewhere on the body, except the belly button, this is also linked to medical problems. Too much fat around the belly has been linked to medical disorders like

-heart disease, heart attacks
-high blood pressure
-breast cancer
-type 2 diabetes
-gall stones
-colon cancer

A fascinating finding has been that once fat gathers around the belly, these fat cells in turn become active and produce chemicals or hormones that affect your health. Studies on fat cells from the belly have been found to produce hormones that counter insulin and cause diabetes. When these fat cells produce estrogen, the risk of breast cancer is increased.

Currently there is effort being made to determine which hormones are produced and how they influence health. Individuals who have belly fat should start making changes in their diet and start to walk, if they want to avoid health problems later in life.

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