Body Shape – Apple or Pear
If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
Most women and men recognize where their bodies tend to store fat.
In the “Pear” shape, fat is stored around the hips and thighs. The waist is narrower than the hips. In the “Apple” shape, fat is stored around the waist, abdomen and chest.
In Canada, a woman’s waist size greater than 80 cm (31.5) and a man’s waist size greater than 94 cm (37 inches) indicate there are likely excess fat deposits in the body leading to a higher risk of developing obesity related diseases.
To determine your waist size, measure around the waist at the belly button or just above it. People with more weight around their waist are at greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips.
Fat comes in two main varieties: subcutaneous fat, which is located under the skin; and visceral or abdominal fat, which surrounds the inner organs of the abdomen. Subcutaneous fat is easy to see. Everyone has some visceral fat, which is needed to protect our internal organs, acting as a shock absorber in case of trauma. However, excess visceral fat can be dangerous creating serious health problems.
Excess visceral fat causes:
- Decreased insulin sensitivity
- Increased triglycerides
- Decreased levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
- Increased blood pressure
Overall, visceral fat increases the chances of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and the risk for certain types of cancer.
It is important to develop goals to reduce the amount of fat from the waist through exercise and diet. This will significantly decrease the risks of obesity related disease.
Walking a minimum of 30 minutes a day and a diet of complex carbohydrates loaded with fibre, whole grains and moderate healthy fats will help. Too much stress and not enough sleep have also been found to add inches to the waistline.
Remember to get regular tests for blood pressure, cholesterol (e.g., total, HDL, LDL), triglycerides and blood glucose.