Battle of the bulge

Posted by on Aug 28, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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You know that donut that’s forming around your midsection? The one that doesn’t seem to budge even though you’ve boosted your exercise regimen and take a restrained approach to eating whenever possible? The one that some experts say has nothing to do with hormones and others say it does?

New data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, which I’ve referenced previously in many posts, suggest that testosterone might be the culprit here. In this particular analysis, researchers examined the potential relationship between testosterone and visceral (belly) fat in 359 middle-aged women who were in various stages of the menopause. Visceral fat was measured via CT scans, and blood was drawn to assess sex hormone (i.e. estrogen and testosterone) levels.

Study findings, which were published in the online edition of Obesity,¬† showed¬† that levels of active testosterone were the strongest predictors of the development of the middle-aged bulge, even more so than estrogen. What’s more, this association remained even after the researchers made adjustments for total body fat, age, race and other risk factors.

Besides appearance, abdominal fat is linked with an increased risk for the metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors that in concert, promote coronary heart disease. What’s more, circulating levels of testosterone may increase one’s risk for developing the metabolic syndrome.

It’s challenging. We’re told to exercise more, restrain our eating, limit alcohol intake and yet, there’s still no magic bullet to kill the middle -age bulge, especially since the battle may ultimately lie with hormonal balance. But don’t lose hope; I suspect that before many of us are through the worst of it, researchers may finally identify a viable, effective strategy.

In the meantime, don’t give up. I’m not sure that all is lost. At least, I hope not!

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