The post menopause belly fat curse is real. A creeping number on the scale is one of the most common age-related complaints. Both men and women are susceptible to extra pounds and belly fat as they grow older, but women also must fight slower metabolism than men. Women have less lean muscle mass than men, meaning they burn fewer calories and must work harder to lose unwanted fat.
Link Between Where Fat Settles and Health Risks
In women, excess fat tends to deposit on hips, thighs and upper limbs. The good news is this type of fat is not as indicative of health problems as belly fat. The bad news is women can still develop belly fat. Where a woman gains her weight is determined by genetics.
Just like in men, fat that settles in the abdomen area is by far the most toxic type of fat. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, contributes to high cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, and increased inflammation. This puts you at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Women may notice an increase in belly fat as they get older even if they don’t gain weight. Some studies have found that even when women were considered normal weight based on standard BMI measurements, a large waistline increases their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Physiological Changes Contribute To Weight Gain
Women also undergo significant physiological changes as they age, some of which increase body fat. Their source of estrogen decreases after menopause, and estrogen offers many health benefits.
Estrogen plays a role in fat placement, helps regulate blood pressure, helps maintain a healthy cholesterol balance, slow bone loss, and even affects mood and concentration.
Measuring Belly Fat
A simple home measurement can help you determine if you have too much belly fat.
Place a tape measure around your bare stomach, just above your hip bones.
Adjust the tape measure until it fits snugly around you, without pinching your skin.
Relax, exhale and measure your waist. Resist the urge to suck in your stomach.
For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more indicates an unhealthy concentration of belly fat and a greater risk of problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Fighting Belly Fat
As you age, maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise routine, and if you try to lose fat, strive for a slow, steady weight-loss program. It’s always wise to seek advice from your physician to ensure you are targeting the fat that is most detrimental to your health — belly fat.