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Men’s Health Week: Hazardous Waist?

It’s Men’s Health Week and the focus this year is on the perennial problem of stomach fat. Carrying a paunch may not be top of your list of things to tackle in this fast-paced, modern world we live in, especially once you’ve reached a certain age.

But if you’re carrying a waist that measures over 37 inches, according to the medical experts, you are certainly making yourself more susceptible to a wide range of medical conditions. These include:

  • Problems with sleeping and developing conditions such as sleep apnea.
  • The increased possibility of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Problems with high blood pressure.
  • Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Developing a disease such as colorectal cancer.

All these can be potentially life-threatening conditions if not diagnosed early enough. The push for Men’s Health Week is to get people to be aware of the issue of belly fat and to encourage better eating, more exercise and hopefully laying off the booze, all of which can help reduce the size of those stomachs and the associated risks.

Why Is Belly Fat Important?

You might think that belly fat is unsightly but all it does is sit there and do nothing. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true. That extra weight lodged in the midriff can break down into fatty acids which then move into areas like the kidneys and muscles, raising levels of bad cholesterol and impacting on how insulin works in the body.

All this can increase your risk of a heart condition like a stroke and almost certainly puts you at a higher probability of developing diabetes. The release of these fatty acids, for instance, can affect the hormone, angiotensin which is involved in the constriction of your blood vessels – interference with this can lead to higher blood pressure and put you at greater risk of a stroke or heart attack.

What Causes Belly Fat?

Most of us know that our lifestyle choices determine weight. We also recognise that once we get a substantial belly, it can be very difficult to shift. While doing sit-ups and other exercise are important in maintaining general health, the only way to lose that excess belly fat is to take a deeper look at what you put in your body in the first place.

That means making healthy food options and avoiding things like processed ready-meals, eating fresh produce and cutting down on the booze. For many men, this involves changing the habits of a lifetime and can, in some circumstances, involve totally rethinking the kind of food they eat. The benefits are obvious, however – if you want to maintain a better level of health and wellbeing, that stomach needs to go.

How workplace Health Screening can motivate your employees

Introducing health screening into the workplace not only benefits individual employees but the business itself. Making staff aware of the potential problems they face, particularly with regards to belly fat, and advising on what they can do about it should ensure that health and wellbeing are better promoted across the board.

Screening can involve several biometric tests carried out by a qualified occupational therapist including height and weight, body mass index and basic rate of metabolism as well as cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure measurements that can all help build a picture of an employee’s overall health.

The truth is that a lot of health problems which develop in later life are easily avoidable if people are encouraged to change behaviours. Providing support for employees in the form of regular screening provides them with the tools and the inclination to do something about it. Excess belly fat in men is just one example where a change in diet and better lifestyle choices can make a dramatic difference.

The truth is that many men don’t understand, or simply ignore, the risk factors associated with health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease until it is too late. Health screening at work, therefore, is becoming increasingly important. The availability of third party occupational health services nowadays has made this kind of service accessible to businesses of all sizes. That means it’s much easier to encourage better behaviours and monitor staff to create a much healthier and happier workforce.


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