Belly Fat a Result of Social Stress, Study Shows

Belly fat might be more likely for those facing social stress, according to new research. And that’s bad news for people facing financial difficulty, because increased belly fat can lead to other, more serious health conditions. In addition, stress can have a negative impact for women who want to have children,  research shows.

belly fatStress can’t make you fat. Generally, only overeating and a poor metabolism can do that. But new research shows that stress may have an effect of the kind of fat you gain, and the kind of damage it can do.

Social stress is something we all have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s the stress created by social situations – work, traffic, any situation where we have to interact with other people. Now, a new study indicates that social stress might be linked to belly fat, which in turn can raise the risk of heart disease.

According to principal investigator Carol A. Shively, a professor of pathology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, fat located in the abdomen behaves differently than fat in other parts of the body. And, if there’s too much, it can have far more harmful effects on health than fat located in other areas, she said.

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One surprising find was the possible link between poverty and obesity. Obesity is directly related to lower socioeconomic status in Western societies, as is heart disease, Dr. Shively noted. So, people dealing with financial stress and a lack of resources are more likely to experience such health problems.

In addition, the study findings indicated that women who are stressed may suffer a decline in ovarian function – and that’s bad news for husbands and wives who want to have children.

In any case, the researchers conclude, some form of stress reduction is a vital part of any weight loss program. So watch that diet, get that exercise – and consider yoga, meditation, prayer, or other stress management technique as part of your personal fitness program.