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Health Information Healthy Living: Fat Distribution

The Skinny on Fat: Location Matters

Not all fat is created equal. Research indicates that visceral fat — located deep inside your stomach — can be more problematic than subcutaneous fat, the kind that lies under the skin.

Because visceral fat surrounds organs, like the liver and kidneys, it may increase blood sugar levels and cause chronic inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.

This kind of fat can be detected by an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scan. But there are also some obvious signs of visceral fat to be aware of. For men, it’s the pot belly (red flag: waist circumference of 40 inches or more). For women, it may appear as a thickening of the waist during menopause (red flag: waist circumference of 38 inches or more).

“What takes men a lifetime to accumulate, women do in just four short years of menopause, possibly because of the testosterone increases women experience as they age,” says Lynda Powell, PhD, a principal investigator at RUSH University Medical Center for a large-scale health research project of women on Chicago’s South Side.

The good news: Visceral fat is the first thing to go during physical activity. Exercising just 30 minutes a day and trimming two inches from around your waist can help.


Looking for assistance achieving your weight goals? Visit our Nutrition and Wellness Center. Our team of nutrition experts can help you achieve your goals, including losing weight, increasing energy, lowering blood cholesterol and living a healthier life.


Nutrition Services at
Rush University Medical Center

Eating well is key to staying well, so Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, offers many nutrition-related services. These include:

Nutrition and Wellness Center
Our team of nutrition experts can help you achieve your goals, including losing weight, increasing energy, lowering blood cholesterol and living a healthier life.

Nutrition Clinic
Registered dietitians use state-of-the-art methods to analyze nutrient content of food intake, assess baseline caloric needs, measure body fat percentage and help patients comply with diets.

Nutrition Consultation Service
Services include nutritional assessment, enteral and parenteral nutrition therapy and indirect calorimetry. Clinical staff members are experienced in nutritional management of bone marrow transplant, surgical, gastroenterological and critically ill patients of all ages. This service is staffed by a multidisciplinary nutrition support team consisting of registered dietitians and pharmacists. The team is co-directed by a registered dietitian and a physician.

For more information about nutrition services at Rush visit our Food and Nutrition Services home page.

Looking for Other Health Information?

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Looking for a Doctor?

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, is a leader in caring for people of all ages, from newborns through older adults.

Just phone (888) 352-RUSH or (888) 352-7874 for help finding the Rush doctor who’s right for you.


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Past Issues
Discover Rush, 2007 - Summer
Healthy Living: Fat Distribution

   
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