Call it what you will: the battle of the bulge, middle-age spread, the waistline war. Somewhere in that busy time between 30 and 40, the forces of nature -- children, work, time -- gang up on you. One day you notice last season's clothes are a little uncomfortable this time around.
All this when age has become less acceptable as an excuse for gaining weight. Just look at the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which make no allowance for getting heavier through the years.
The experts are getting downright stern: "Over the age of 21, a change in your waist of more than two inches is an early warning that you need to change your lifestyle," says George Blackburn, M.D., a nutrition specialist at Harvard Medical School. "There's no justification for increasing your waist size after you reach adulthood."
Getting older doesn't have to mean getting wider, the experts say. The first step in the fight against flab is knowing your opponent. Take the following quiz to find out how well armed you are.