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Truncal obesity refers to a condition in which one has a body mass index of 30 or more and in which the fat is primarily stored around the trunk of the body. It is also sometimes called abdominal obesity. Those who have this type of obesity are more likely to suffer from serious health conditions than those who carry most of their weight in the hips, thighs, or arms.
Although any amount of excess weight can lead to health problems, those with truncal obesity are at a much higher risk than others. Fat which accumulates around the midsection is within close proximity to the body’s internal organs and can cause fat to build up around them. It also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, and the extra weight in the stomach can cause back strain.
Some people are more prone to gain weight around the middle than others. Women are often more likely to be overweight in general because hormonal factors play a part in weight gain and appetite. Anyone can suffer from truncal obesity, however the location in which one primarily gains weight is often a product of genetics. Some individuals are more likely to gain weight in the hips or thighs than in the stomach.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not possible to burn fat from one location at a time. Doing sit-ups or crunches will help build muscle in the abdomen, but will not target fat loss to that area. In order to lose weight from the stomach it is important to do cardiovascular exercises combined with strength training. The added muscle mass from doing crunches will help burn fat faster, but this fat will be burned from all over the body rather than in the stomach alone.
The most common cause of truncal obesity is eating too many heavily processed or high fat foods and a lack of physical activity. Occasionally hormonal disorders can lead to weight gain, but this is an uncommon cause of obesity. Eating fewer calories than one expends is the best way of combating truncal obesity, although diet aids and medications can be used in severe situations. Surgery, such as gastric bypass, is also used to help those who are morbidly obese lose weight.
Truncal obesity is highly preventable. Eating fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and avoiding processed foods are the best ways of maintaining a healthy weight. Those who need help with planning and sticking to a healthy eating plan should speak with a registered dietitian or nutritionist.