Being overweight/obese is associated with many of the leading causes of death and a laundry list of negative health impacts. Aside from the amount of excess fat on our bodies, where the fat is stored (the fat distribution) can predict health risks. Overweight men who resemble an “apple-on-a-stick” shape of distribution, or females who experience a “pear-like” distribution have an increased risk for heart disease, hypertension and many other diseases and disorders.
Why is this distribution a problem? When fat cells are circulating through the body, they must pass through the liver. Having a large amount of fat distribution in the area of the liver likely interferes with the liver’s ability to metabolize the fat for usage. Therefore, this back up of fat increases the risk for developing heart disease and hypertension. In addition, the excess fat in these areas puts strain on the vital organs. Over time this strain can diminish their functioning.
When you consume a greater amount of calories than you are expending, your body stores the excess calories as fat. While not everyone has the same pattern of fat distribution, many overweight/obese Americans can fit into one of two classifications—android or gynoid.
In males, testosterone (a primarily male hormone) can encourage upper-body obesity, giving the body an apple appearance, also known as android obesity. While this type of obesity is most common in males, it’s also seen in females. This type of obesity mainly affects the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs.
In females, estrogen and progesterone (primarily female hormones) can encourage lower-body fat storage. This characteristic female pattern of fat storage appears as having a small abdomen and much larger buttocks and thighs, giving a pear-like appearance. This type of obesity, also referred to as gynoid obesity, mainly affects the kidneys, uterus, intestines, bladder and bowels.
Both of these forms of fat distribution, along with any general increase in fat distribution, put increased stress on the vital organs. Over time, this strain can lead to malfunction of the organs, increasing the risk for diseases and disorders, and decreasing life expectancy.
The bottom line? Regardless of where your excess fat is distributed, being overweight/obese leads to numerous health complications! So, get active and eat MORE fruits and veggies each day!
Fruits and veggies are part of a healthy lifestyle that aids in weight loss/maintenance. With each meal/snack, fill half-your-plate with fruits and veggies!
Here’s How Fruits & Veggies Can Help Keep You Healthy …
- Full of fiber—to keep you satisfied for longer
- Replace high-calorie foods
- Low in calories and saturated fat
Check out our Healthy Menu ideas. All menus are designed to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations!