Alert
Close

Top the Treasure Hunt leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Close
AARP Games Tournament

REAL POSSIBILITIES

AARP Real Possibilities
Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Battling Belly Fat

Why it's dangerous and how to lose it

In the end, fewer calories and more exercise is what works, says Jo Ann Hattner, a nutrition consultant with Stanford University School of Medicine and coauthor of Help! My Underwear Is Shrinking!

"It's the prudent diet. It's more vegetables, more fruits, more whole grains," Hattner says. Emphasize healthy foods containing potassium, calcium, dietary fiber and vitamin D. Cut back on sugars — especially sugar-sweetened beverages — as well as saturated fats and refined grains such as those found in pastries.

"You have to understand that this is a lifelong change," she says. "This is not a diet in which you lose weight and then you can go back to your normal eating patterns. That just doesn't work."

Which diet is best?

One recent study suggests a low-carbohydrate diet may best target visceral fat. A Johns Hopkins University study of people with large bellies found that those who ate a healthy low-carb diet lost both more pounds and more belly fat than the group on a low-fat diet, says Kerry Stewart, director of exercise physiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the lead author of the study.

Cummings of the University of Washington, however, doesn't put too much stock in any one diet. "Go on whatever diet you think you can stick to," he suggests. Once you start losing weight, the payoff comes quickly. With every pound of belly fat that's lost, health risks diminish, too. Several studies have shown that you don't need to lose all the weight to get dramatic improvement. Scherer says even a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent lowers dangerous levels of insulin and estrogen.

Know your waist size

Only an MRI or a CT scan can show how much visceral fat you really have. But your waist size is a good indicator. The danger zone for women is a waist that's 35 inches or larger; for men it's 40 inches or larger. To measure correctly, wrap a measuring tape around your bare abdomen, just above the hip bone. Another way to take stock? Watch how your pants fit. Says Hattner: "The clothes really tell the truth."

You May Also Like

Visit the AARP home page every day for great deals and for tips on keeping healthy and sharp

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Related Video

Dr. Oz explains why exercising is especially important as we grow older. Watch

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grocery Coupon Center

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by Coupons.com.

African American grandfather, father and son brushing teeth
AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.