Over the past two decades it has been established beyond any doubt that the amount of fat around the waist (aka abdominal fat and visceral fat) is at least as important, if not more important, than the total amount of body fat in predicting and /or causing complications that have been traditionally associated with overweight/obesity.
Abdominal obesity is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease independent of BMI (a proxy for obesity) [2, 3] and is thought to affect disease risk through increased insulin resistance.[4, 5] Actually, the common development of insulin resistance with aging is caused by growing bellies, rather than aging per se. Notably, normal-weight abdominal obesity is associated with higher mortality than generalized obesity (as defined by BMI).
An enlarged belly is an especially strong indicator of metabolic risk in men.[8, 9] People with large a waist circumference – i.e. those having a belly - have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, compared to those with smaller waist circumferences, regardless of BMI. [10-14] Your waist also impacts your longevity, which I covered in a previous article "Watch Your Waist - it may shorten your life!
And your belly can interfere with your sex life...