The size of your belly may be putting your health at serious risk.
For the study, researchers from the U.K. and Australia identified the top 30 developed countries using United Nations data. Then, they analyzed data from the 2013 Global Burden of Disease study, which estimated the prevalence of obesity in adults and children from 1980 to 2013.
They found that 90 percent of adult men in the U.S., New Zealand, Greece, and Iceland are “overfat”, meaning they have excess body fat that can seriously harm their health. This could be the case even for normal-weight men who aren’t technically considered obese.
The World Health Organization defines being overweight as having a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 25. But your BMI doesn’t always paint the full picture, since it doesn’t really identify where you’re carrying your weight or the different types of fat, the researchers say.
That’s important, since the “overfat pandemic” may largely stem from the rising rates of excess abdominal fat—the most dangerous form of body fat—the researchers say. In fact, too much belly bulge has been linked to problems processing insulin, heart disease, and even early death.
Having high body fat in general can lead to chronic inflammation and cause abnormal amounts of fat in your blood, which may spike your blood pressure and increase your risk for other heart problems, the researchers write.
So, how can you know if you’re at risk? Simply measure the size of your belly by dividing your waist size by your height. Anything above .54 is considered obese, according to one recent study.
If you miss the mark, don’t freak out just yet. Doing high intensity exercise can help you shed fat fast. And if you really have no idea where to start, follow this step-by-step plan for making your gut disappear.