from Harvard Medical School Healthbeat

Though many people joke about a beer belly or spare tire or love handles, there’s nothing funny about it.  Abdominal obesity is hazardous to health and happiness.  It increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, erectile dysfunction and other miseries.

Men with a waist size of 37 inches are at risk, and are in danger at 40 inches.  The corresponding waist sizes for women are 31½ and 35 inches, respectively.

Despite the commonly used moniker, beer is not necessarily to blame.  In a study of 2000 beer-loving adults in the Czech Republic, there was no correlation between beer consumption and waist size.

Instead, we have to put the blame on calories, as in stuffing ourselves with way more calories from any and all sources than we burn off in exercise.  That excess energy we take in but don’t burn off gets stored in fat cells.

Excess energy doesn’t take a holiday.  Whether it’s Thursday or Thanksgiving Thursday, the excess calories make a beeline for the belly.

There are alcoholic beverages lower in calories than the 150 calories in a 12-ounce beer.  Light beer contains only 110 calories, and a 5½- ounce glass of wine or a 1½-ounce shot of hard liquor have only about 100 calories—unless you add olives or cherries or caloric mixes.

And here’s where Mother Nature throws in a real sexist kicker—men’s abdominal fat cells enlarge more readily than the abdominal fat cells in women.

For more information about extra dangers associated with male belly fat, go to

To stay abreast of Lake County Battles Obesity, visit Ron Graham’s blog for the Lake County General Health District at   Visit often.  The life and limb you save may be your own.


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