ZocdocAnswersWhat is visceral fat?

Question

What is visceral fat?

Heard on the radio that visceral fat can lead to health problems like diabetes. I am somewhat overweight but it's mostly on my arms and legs.

Answer

Visceral fat simply means body fat that is not located in the soft tissue under the skin (such as the abdomen, breasts, and thighs) but rather inside the body cavities, primarily around the organs inside the abdomen. Visceral fat is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and other similar conditions probably because it is harder to lay down than 'outside' fat. This means that, if you have a significant component of visceral fat, that being overweight is a more longstanding problem than if you just had external, 'outside' fat. Nevertheless, the treatment of all forms of being overweight are the same. The cornerstone is healthy eating and regular, daily exercise. Losing even just 10% of your excess weight can greatly reduce your risk for the medical complications, like diabetes and heart disease, of being overweight. If you are interested in a weight loss program, I recommend that you start by setting up an appointment with your primary care doctor. They will be able to screen you for any medical conditions which might limit the types of exercise you should perform. They can also set you up with a dietitian, who can help you develop a healthy eating plan to get you on track.

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