While many people dislike their muffin top because of its visual appearance, the presence of excess belly fat is important for health considerations as well. According to Harvard Health Publications, fat in the abdominal area tends to be mostly visceral fat, which is fat deep inside the abdominal cavity, as opposed to fat just underneath the skin, which is subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is implicated in many diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, so it is important for someone who wants to improve their health to be aware of the presence of belly fat.
A simple measurement of the belly gives you an indication if you have too much belly fat, according to MayoClinic.com. This is valid for both men and women, but the maximum that your belly should measure differs between genders. For women, a measurement of over 35 inches generally means that the woman carries too much fat for good health. Men with a measurement of over 40 inches also need to look carefully at diet and lifestyle.
A measuring tape is all the materials you need to measure your belly fat. The measurement should be performed while standing up, although if you are male and your stomach droops a little, then it is more accurate to measure while lying down. Find the top of your hipbone by pressing into your sides and wrap the measuring tape around at this level. Ensure the tape is level all the way around. Then breathe out and take your measurement. If you breathe in in an attempt to suck in your stomach, or tense up your abdominal muscles, then you will underestimate your belly fat.
Waist Measurement Benefits
Harvard Health Publications say that there are alternative ways to estimate belly fat, but waist circumference appears to be the most suitable option in terms of practicality, accuracy and cost. The waist-to-hip ratio measurement is more complicated to do than the straightforward waist measurement. Medical analysis using technology like CT scanning or MRI is very expensive and is not much more accurate than the waist measurement.
If you find your waist circumference is too high, then a healthcare practitioner can advise you on a suitable course of action to get rid of the excess belly fat. Portion control, increasing your physical activity and improving the quality of your diet, for example, are all beneficial for people who want to lose weight and burn belly fat.