Men, It's Time to Get Serious About Your Weight.

Published in Wellness Bariatrics/Weight Control Tag: Margaret (Peggy) Johnson, MD  

Author: Margaret (Peggy) Johnson, MD

Do men take better care of their cars than themselves? Are men steadily becoming an "endangered species" regarding their health? And what is the "beer belly" phenomenon in men all about?

More than 38% of men in the U.S. are obese (BMI>30), and 5.5% are extremely obese (BMI>40). A man would have a BMI >30 at height 6 feet and weight greater than 200 pounds. Extreme obesity translates into typically being more than 80-100 pounds over ideal weight.

Health risks for overweight men are numerous and affect weight bearing concerns (think back pain, hip and knee pain, and lessened movement capabilities) as well as the many metabolic concerns that can kill prematurely (think heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver, and many forms of cancer).

An expanding waistline is a warning sign, and is often associated with insulin resistance. Men are designed to store fat in their abdomens. This is the visceral fat that is packed deep in the abdomen and involves liver, kidneys, and other organs; thus the "beer belly"/"pot belly" terms for when men have exceeded their storage capacity. So screening of obesity in men involves not only BMI (an interpretation of height and weight) but also waist circumference. Men should strive to keep a waistline less than 40 inches.

Healthy lifestyles and weight management are keys to preventing health problems. Let’s encourage the men in our lives to take care of themselves and not just their vehicles.