First the not so good news, a waist measure of 89 cms (35 inches) or more in women and 102 cms (40 inches) in men indicates a potentially dangerous amount of abdominal fat.

Belly fat (also called visceral fat) wraps around abdominal organs such as the liver , intestines and pancreas and can interrupt their regular function.

Belly fat is metabolically active and has been linked with other health conditions. High visceral fat sends a toxic stream of chemicals into the body leading to inflammation and can result in high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. In addition, it also stokes up the triglycerides and lowers good cholesterol (HDL).

A recent study of over 15000 people showed that individuals with high levels of visceral fat are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases. Visceral fat could lead to insulin resistance which in turn can hasten type 2 diabetes.

Cancer risk also goes up due to higher level of abdominal fat. Studies show that chances of getting colorectal cancer nearly doubled among postmenopausal women with accumulated visceral fat. A link between both, total body fat and abdominal fat leads to a raised risk of breast cancer.

When women in the study lost about 6 kg (12 pounds) on average, changes in the biomarkers for breast cancer indicated a reduction in breast cancer probability.

The scary part is unhealthy amounts of visceral fat can literally shrink the brain and increase the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Risk of developing dementia increase 3 times more in people with high amount of abdominal obesity compared to those with less abdominal fat.

Finally, the good news, controlling your calorific intake can help reduce belly fat and risks associated with it.

High Intensity exercises can significantly lower visceral fat levels.

Cut out simple sugars from your diet completely as it contributes to abdominal obesity. The usual suspects : sugar is found in sports drinks, packaged juices, sodas and processed foods.

The body stress hormone, cortisol, has shown distinct correlation to visceral fat gain.

Better stress management habits can help lower abdominal fat. Studies prove the same fact repeatedly, that people with 5 hours or less, of sleep, are more likely to gain weight.

Get enough sleep of at least 7 hours to avoid the risks of belly fat. Get up and get active to burn the belly fat….in short exorcise the monster within!