What Is Too Much?
Patrick Bird, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida, says that Americans are “stressing” the scales. Statistics say that 160 million are overweight and that tallies almost 75% of men and 60% of women. Even American children and youth are overweight with 30% of those under 20 weighing in as overweight or obese. We know it’s a major health problem, but what do we know about fat. Here are some fat facts.
About Fat Cells
We think we’re getting fatter and making more fat cells. We’re not. We develop our fat cells as babies, children and adolescents. From birth to age six, we triple our fat cells. Both boys and girls experience this similar addition of body fat. During adulthood about 8% of fat cells die yearly, but they are replaced with new cells. The fat cells in adults remain constant – even when a person loses a large amount of weight, according to a study at Sweden’s renowned Karolinska Institute. So, how do we get fat? We put more fat in these cells. That’s what creates the dreaded cellulite. As we age, our skin is thinner and if we’ve stuffed the cells, we end up with more visible cellulite.
The Good and Bad of Being Female or Male
We’re not going to try to quantify if women care more about their weight than men do. The bad part of being female is simple – you have a higher percentage of body fat than a man. Body fat is necessary to give us energy and women store fat as part of their biological destiny – childbirth and lactation. At age 25, even if they are at a healthy weight, women have almost twice the body fat of men. It begins for a girl at about age 8 when they start gaining fat mass (not necessarily weight) at a greater rate than boys. Girls burn less fat when they are at rest than the boys and the greater fat mass comes from expanding the size of fat cells – not their number. During adolescence and that “growth spurt” the increase of fat in girls almost doubles the boys. And, you could probably guess where those fat cells get larger – it’s the pelvis, buttock and thighs. You may feel better if you call that the gluteal-femoral area, somehow that sounds less threatening that knowing your bum’s fat cells are increasing.
That’s the bad news. However, the good news is important. Where women put on fat is not as unhealthy as where men gain. Men tend to store any excess fat in the abdominal region. That potbelly (where the waists begins to exceed the hips) is associated with an increased risk for disease – including coronary artery disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even some cancers. Visceral weight – the weight men and women put on in the abdominal area – is generally thought to increase mortality. Men also shift their center of gravity when they grow their stomach. Add the muscle weakness and less activity that comes with age and men are likely to experience back pain if they put on that belly weight. However, since the skin around the abdomen is thick, they won’t have to worry about cellulite showing.
Shaping Your Body
Austrian sports scientist put more light on hard-to-reduce areas. Dr. Nobert Egger saw the connection between where fat was stored and blood supply. Simply, the areas that are hard to reduce — the abdomen, thighs and bottom – don’t have a big blood supply. The theory he advanced and then shared with other scientists and, of all people, mechanical engineers was increasing blood flow would increase weight loss in targeted areas . Working together, they developed a way to bring compression and vacuum technology to those areas while women and men did low impact exercise. This increased blood flow and allowed weight to be lost in specific areas. In short, it provided a way to sculpt a figure by getting rid of excessive fat in those difficult areas. Best of all, it worked without surgery. The system, called HYPOXI, has grown into a worldwide exercise and body sculpting option. HPOXI studios appeared in Europe and Australia. It can be found in more than 50 countries with 80 studios in Australia alone. It is also now available in America in places like the HYPOXI studio in Scottsdale, AZ. The equipment is making appearances in American gyms. It offers another way – without going under the knife – to fool mother nature and get rid of fat in areas where she like to store it – for both women and men.