Why do men put weight on at their stomachs? My husband tries to lose weight, but his belly is very slow to go down. He doesn't drink alcohol. Do you have any suggestions on how he can lose this belly fat?
Dr. Hockett's professional interests include women's health.
Weight gain and especially “belly fat” has been the topic of much discussion for years. This is evidenced by the plethora of websites and articles addressing it and claiming to have the solution to combat it. While it is anything but easy to tackle, the basic cause is actually quite simple in most cases. When a person’s caloric intake exceeds their capacity to burn those calories, the excess is stored as fat. So it is the good old motto of calories in verses calories out!
It is true that men and women distribute fat differently. Women tend to have more subcutaneous fat. This means that there is a layer of fat just under the skin which is distributed through much of the body. Men tend to have less of this layer of subcutaneous fat and instead their fat cells tend to accumulate more in the abdomen. With age (predominately during middle age) hormone levels drop in both women and men. We hear a lot about menopause in women, but men also have a drop in hormones during this time, and this tends to lead to growth of the fat cells in the abdomen.
Unfortunately, there is no magic solution, as many might hope for. The best and healthiest way to combat belly fat is a low fat, low calorie diet (I recommend the Mediterranean diet) and moderate cardiovascular exercise. While abdominal and core strengthening (like sit ups and crunches) can really help build the abdominal muscles, and thus essentially “hide” the belly fat better, they do not do much to decrease the fat overall.
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