Social Security no longer finds people disabled on the basis of obesity alone. Now, they consider the effect of obesity on other severe medical problems. It is no secret that Americans tend to be overweight. Thus, obesity plays a role in most Social Security disability cases. But, is all extra weight equally harmful?
The Tale Of The Tape
A story in the New York Times examined some recent studies on obesity that showed surprising results. First, the bad news. As you might have already guessed, extra weight in and around the belly is very bad. This type of fat, called visceral fat, is found in the abdomen and around the internal organs. One quick way to
assess this is your waist size. Each four-inch increase in waist size enhances the risk of premature death. Visceral fat is associated with such diseases as diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease.
It's Good To Be Hip
Now the good news. Extra fat around your thighs and hips is actually good for you. For example, a two-inch increase in the size of your thighs indicates an 18% decrease in your risk of very bad things. Add four inches of fat to your hips and you
are 10% more likely to outlive your critics. This fat is called subcutaneous and it is the kind you want.
Sadly, there is no way to eliminate some fat and not others. So-called "spot reducing" is nonsense. That said, you can assess your overall health risks if you are obese by determining where you are carrying the extra weight. If You have a too-large waist and too-small thighs, for example, you know you have work to do.