Not the size of your fiancés’ engagement ring!  Men, no matter what their age, should have a waistline less than forty.  Health plans look at height and weight and BMI but the experts are saying that if your waist measures more than 40, you are at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.  Now, if you already have one of the available health plans and something were to happen that required hospitalization and/or surgery you would be responsible to pay the deductible.  If you have a high deductible health plan that could add up to thousands of dollars not to mention the fact that you would be sick with an illness that could have been avoided.

Dr. Michael Jensen, M.D., and endocrinology specialist at Mayo Clinic answers the question “Why is belly fat a concern for men?”  “People who gain belly fat are at greater risk of serious health problems, even death, than are people who accumulate fat in other areas- and men are more likely that women to gain weight around the waist. Regardless of your overall weight, having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Some types of cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • High triglycerides
  • Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

Dr. Jensen goes on to explain how you can tell if you have too much belly fat.  “Your waist size is a good indicator of whether you have too much belly fat.  Although measurements that compare your hip and waist circumference (waist-to-hip ratio) or compare your height and weight  (body mass index) are more precise, your wait size alone can give you a good estimate.  For most men, the risk factors for heart disease and other diseases increase with a waist size greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters).

To measure your waist:

  1. Place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hipbone
  2. Pull the tape measure until its fits snugly around you but doesn’t push into your skin
  3. Make sure the tape measure is level all the way around
  4. Relax, exhale and measure your waist – no sucking in your belly!”

If you’ve got it, how do you lose it?  Dr. Jensen explains.  “Reduce calories.  Slim down your portions sizes.  Replace your usual fare with healthy food that contain fewer calories.  At restaurants, share with your buddies – or eat half your meal and take the rest home for another day.

Increase physical activity.  For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, in addition to strength training.  You may need to do more to lose weight and keep it off.  If you can’t set aside time for longer workouts, try shorter spurts of activity throughout the day.  Start with a walk after dinner or a game of catch with your kids.”