Troublesome abdominal fat and how to fix it

Critical organ abdominal fat is worse. Ian Neeland, my former UT Southwestern colleague, revealed that this fat promotes heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, cancer, and early death.

Even if Americans are less active, abdominal obesity is growing. Restaurants serve more. Less time means more packaged and fast meals.

Abdominal fat measurement

Only CT or MRI scans can correctly measure hazardous abdominal fat. However, waist circumference estimates abdominal fat. 

According to the NIH, women and men over 35 and 40 inches are at risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Methods to reduce abdominal fat

Regular exercise decreases belly fat more than weight, according to UT Southwestern. These data imply exercise reduces abdominal fat.

Absent abdominal fat lowers diabetes and heart disease risk. UT Southwestern researchers showed that belly fat reduction lowered elderly adults' most common heart failure.


The Mediterranean Diet reduces risk with olive oil. Olive oil moves fat to healthy areas, whereas vegetable oil may cause belly fat.


Strength-training and aerobic exercise disperse fat better. Lean muscle and fat are built through exercise. Benefits exist even if BMI doesn't alter.

Research next steps

UT Southwestern researchers are investigating why and how to prevent or reverse fat accumulation in distinct body areas. We know hormones impact and the heart releases them.

Check whether hormones diminish abdominal fat. Bariatric surgery is being studied to minimize heart disease, diabetes, and other medical issues in persons with belly obesity.

UT Southwestern, one of the nation's leading academic medical institutes, provides various clinical trials to improve obesity and cardiovascular disease outcomes.

Stay tuned for developments.