Why more Nigerian men will have potbellies, by experts
Wikipedia describes potbelly as the excessive abdominal fats around the stomach and abdomen that has built up to the extent that the abdomen protrudes excessively with likely negative impact on the person’s health.
The primary cause of potbelly identified by experts is the energy imbalance in the body, thus the amount of usable calories consumed is on the high side, as compared to that which is expended.
When one takes in more calories than they burn, the excess is stored as fats, and continually accumulates to cause obesity, and most times around the abdomen.
In the past, potbelly in men was considered a sign of wealth and success, but in recent times, it is rather attributed to many health related ailments such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Potbelly tend to be more prominent in older people, especially men, because as one gets older, the calorie needs go down, so often they become less active and gaining weight becomes easier.
Trunk obesity or beer belly or spare tyre as some call it have many causes which include genetic factors, sedentary lifestyle, much alcohol intake, wrong and bad eating habits, lack of exercise among others.
Seeking the view of a health expert, a doctor at the Mossach clinic in Isolo Lagos confirmed that potbelly in men has always been on the high side from time immemorial especially in Africa due to many factors.
The doctor who pleaded anonymity explained that genetic plays an important role in determining where distribution of fat goes in the body, and that if the patient has fat parents or relatives, the likelihood is high for them to be obese.
She further noted that in this modern dispensation, the ‘rich men’ are more prone to developing potbelly than their poor counterparts and this is because, to show affluence, they tend to eat very high calorie foods in big eateries and restaurants as opposed to the poorer folks.
She also noted that most of our foods in this part of the world are more of carbohydrate and cholesterol, and most times, heavy meals that contain very high cholesterol are eaten at night when less energy is needed. She cited ‘egusi’ soup (melon seeds soup) and pounded yam.
She also cautioned about the level of red meat intake, advising that it should be avoided, especially among older folks.
She further pointed out that modern life style or sedentary life style has also been a very primary cause of potbelly, due to the fact that people don’t exercise to burn excess fats, unlike our fore fathers in those days who eat heavy and work heavy to utilize the energy.
She revealed that skipping meals could also be a contributing factor to over eating, which can lead to storing excess fat in the trunk line.
She attested to the fact that apart from the disfiguring aspect of potbelly in men, it also exposes them to various cardio diseases like hypertension, since the blood vessels becomes thickened and blood supply to the heart suffers.
“Nigerians as a people, have very high social life, which is most times inevitable. In the course of this, men especially consume much alcohol with lots of meat to accompany it during ceremonies and social gatherings.
This alcohol gives high appetite and it results to bad eating habits,” she said.
According to Michael Jensen, an endocrine expert and obesity researcher with the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, “when one drinks alcohol, the liver burns the alcohol instead of the fat. And a typical beer has 150 calories, so if a person takes several of it in a sitting, then the person might end up with serious calorie overload.”
This paints the typical scenario of what most Nigerian men do at various pubs and beer parlous.
A study has shown that alcohol consumption is directly associated with waist circumference and with higher risk of abdominal obesity in men than in women. It was observed that increasing alcohol consumption significantly increased the risk of exceeding recommended energy intake in male participants.
Experts has confirmed that routine exercise can help strengthen the core muscles to help hold in belly fats, but wont eliminate it, and that the only way to lose belly fat is by losing weight through constant exercise.
Aerobic exercises like running, swimming, cycling and tennis are best recommended to help reduce body fat. But to be on the safer side, the doctor at Mossach clinic advised that people should practice healthy and balance eating, routine exercises like skipping and jogging, eliminating or cutting down alcohol intake, as well as not skipping meals.