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Why Your Waistline Matters: Tips to Reduce Belly Fat

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 08, 2023

Why Your Waistline Matters: Tips to Reduce Belly Fat

We already understand that carrying excess weight is not healthy. But did you know that fat distribution matters, too? According to experts, the bigger your waistline is, the higher your health risks are. Given its dangers, how do we reduce belly fat? Find out here.  

Subcutaneous and Visceral Fats

Before we proceed with the ways to reduce belly fat, let’s first clarify one thing: Not all fats are bad. Fat in the body stores energy, provides insulation, and regulates and produces hormones. Moreover, fat offers padding, which protects our organs. 

This is why doctors encourage us to consume adequate amounts of good fats in our diet, which we can find in fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, and healthy cooking oils. 

Just as there are good and bad fats in nutrition, there are also harmless and dangerous fats in the body. 

  • Subcutaneous fat, which sits just under the skin, is normally harmless. This is the “jiggly” fat you can grasp with your fingers. 
  • Visceral fat, on the other hand, is out of reach. It lies deep within, surrounding your internal organs. Increased visceral fat is associated with many health risks. 
  • Belly fat has both subcutaneous and visceral fat. 

    The Dangers of Increased Belly Fat

    It is important to reduce belly fat because of the health risks associated with it, including:

    How to Know If You Have Too Much Belly Fat

    Measuring your waistline is a good way to determine if you have too much belly fat. 

    Stand straight and place the measuring tape around your bare stomach; it should lie just above your hip bone. The tape must fit snugly, but shouldn’t be tight. Take a breath, exhale, and then measure. Refrain from tucking your tummy in. 

    Men should have a waistline of no more than 40 inches. For women, it’s best to have a measurement of less than 35 inches. 

    Men and women with waistlines of greater than 40 and 35 inches respectively have what experts call abdominal obesity. 

    How to Reduce Belly Fat

    There are no shortcuts to whittling your waistline. If you want to reduce belly fat, the following tips will help:

    Get moving

    Exercise is an indispensable part of losing weight and getting rid of abdominal obesity. Aim to have at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity daily. When you feel comfortable, you can scale that up to an hour a day. 

    Strength training which involves resistance bands or lifting weights also helps. Try to perform these exercises at least twice a week. 


    It’s best to talk to your doctor about the appropriate exercise for you, particularly if you have an underlying health issue. 

    Drink in moderation

    Any kind of alcohol contains calories, so drinking in excess can cause belly fat to accumulate. 

    Women shouldn’t have more than one drink a day; men can have two daily. Learn more about what counts as “one drink” here.  

    Have a healthy diet

    A healthy diet consists of whole grains, sources of lean protein, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose healthy sources of fat, too, and limit your intake of processed meat. Of course, be mindful of consuming sugary beverages. 

    Finally, don’t forget that portion sizes matter. 

    Key Takeaways

    Abdominal obesity is linked to many health risks, including cardiovascular diseases, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea. To reduce belly fat, performing moderate-intensity physical activity daily is crucial. You must also have a healthy and balanced diet filled with whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. Also, it’s crucial to drink in moderation. 
    If you have problems achieving your target weight, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. 

    Learn more about Heart Health here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jezreel Esguerra, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 08, 2023

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