How heavy smoking, living near busy road, others cause pot belly
A common fear among smokers is that they will pile on weight if they quit the habit. But new research has found that heavy smokers are more likely to get pot bellies.
Scientists say that while people who light up may have better control of their overall weight, heavy tobacco use tends to push fat into central areas, resulting in a protruding tummy.
Having an “apple shape” is known to be less healthy than being “pear shaped.” People with apple shapes have more weight in their waist and belly areas. People with pear shapes have more weight in their hips and thighs.
Central obesity – too much fat around your waist – is said to be one of the most harmful types of fat deposition around the body.
It happens when excessive fat around the stomach and abdomen has built up to the extent that it is likely to have a negative impact on your health.
People with pot bellies face an increased risk of a number of conditions including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The researchers reviewed data from 29 studies involving 148,731 people with European ancestry who were either smokers, former smokers, or people who had never smoked. The information detailed the smoking habits of the volunteers, as well as their weight and waist circumference.
The analysis, published in the BMJ Open journal, revealed that some smokers had a genetic variation linked to smoking more and having a lower body mass index (BMI). But it also showed that while overall BMI in heavy smokers was lower, their waist circumference was higher than non-smokers once BMI was accounted for.
Heavy smokers (those who smoke greater than or equal to 25 or more cigarettes a day) are a subgroup who place themselves and others at risk for harmful health consequences and also are those least likely to achieve cessation. Despite this, heavy smokers are not well described as a segment of the smoking population.
Public health strategies which may particularly assist heavy smokers include stronger restrictions on smoking in public places, nicotine replacement therapies, and the use of segmentation research to more carefully target campaign messages to influence quit attempts and confidence.
Also, a study has shown that people who live near noisy traffic face a bigger risk of developing a pot belly. And those whose homes are near railway lines, flight paths and busy roads are the most likely to acquire a spare tyre.
Scientists did not find a link between traffic noise and your overall BMI, according to research published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
But they found that noise exposure may be an “important physiological stressor” and bump up the production of cortisol.
And high levels of this hormone are thought to have a key role in fat deposition around the middle of the body.
Traffic noise from any or all of the three sources may also affect metabolic as well as cardiovascular functions, through sleep disturbance, the study suggests, altering appetite control and energy expenditure.
Also, having fat around the waist dramatically increases a person’s risk of heart disease and cancer.
Scientists found that having a beer belly or muffin top around your middle, even if you are not overweight, poses a greater risk than being obese or carrying fat elsewhere.
The study was published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
It is thought a podgy tummy can be a killer because it is packed with “bad fat”.
Also, research suggests when we eat may be just as important as what we put in our mouths.
Scientists warn that eating while we stay up to browse the internet or watch a late film is likely to be contributing to rising obesity levels.
The warning comes after tests on mice. One group were allowed to eat only during an eight-hour period, while a second group could graze on what they wanted all day and night.
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