Flushing Hospital Medical Center: Learning More About Visceral Fat

October 14, 2021

We all have some percentage of body fat on our bodies. In fact, it is healthy to have some body fat, but it’s also important to understand that not all fat is created equal. Visceral fat, or “active” fat is a type of fat that can be very harmful to your health.

Visceral fat is a type of body fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity and is therefore stored around multiple important internal organs, including the:

  • liver
  • stomach
  • intestines
  • Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as ‘active fat’ because research has shown that this type of fat plays a distinctive and potentially dangerous role affecting how our hormones function.

    The higher the amount of visceral fat a person stores, the more at risk they are for certain health complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  It can also lead to an increased likelihood of developing breast or colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or stroke.

    While imaging tests such as an MRI and CT scan can determine how much visceral fat someone is carrying, often a doctor can conclude if someone has too much visceral fat through learning more about their patient’s diet and lifestyle, calculate their overall body fat or simply measuring their waist, (a woman whose waist measures 35 inches or more is likely to have excess visceral fat. The same is true of a man whose waist measures 40 inches or more). A person’s visceral fat could range from anywhere between 1 and 59, but ideally it should be under 13.

    The dangers of storing excess visceral fat can be extreme and immediate, so it is essential to make diet and lifestyle changes as soon as possible as losing weight can help a person reduce their levels of visceral fat.

    Ways to decrease visceral fat includes incorporating a combination of cardiovascular exercise, such as running, cycling, swimming and strength training, which can include pushups or squats.  In addition, you should follow a healthy diet that is high in lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Limiting stress levels can also reduce visceral fat.

    If you believe you may have a high amount of visceral fat, make an appointment to speak with your doctor immediately so they can help you develop a plan to reduce it.

    To make an appointment at Flushing Hospitals’ Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-670-5486.

    All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

    This press release was produced by Flushing Hospital Medical Center. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

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