Love handles or an apple shape put you more at risk for heart disease and other chronic diseases.
"This extra fat around the waist increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes," says Dr. Stephen Kuehn, cardiologist.
It's called visceral fat. It surrounds the organs, such as the liver and interferes with insulin production, which may lead to diabetes. Visceral fat raises cholesterol and can block essential arteries, causing a heart attack.
The waist-to-hip ratio is a predictor of cardiovascular disease according to Dr. Kuehn. To determine the ratio, divide the measurement of your natural waist (above the belly button) by your hip measurement. The ideal ratio for women is below .8 and for men it is below .9.
Dr. Kuehn says it is a myth that specific exercises targeted towards the middle will shrink that part of the body. The most effective method is a combination of activity, nutrition and genetics. He emphasizes the value of walking, which may lead to weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and improved mood.
"A weight loss of as little as 10 pounds can lead to a reduction in, or even going off certain medications," says Dr. Kuehn. "Obesity is a silent killer."
CoxHealth Fitness Centers provide a variety of group exercise classes, one-on-one personal training, dietitian consultations and more to help you lose those love handles. Centers are located in Springfield, Republic and Willard. For more information, call 269-3282.