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Why a Big Belly Increases the Risk of Falling Down

Why Excess Belly Fat Increases Fall Risk

Excess fat around the belly, a.k.a. visceral fat, causes your center of mass to move forward compared to those with a normal waist circumference. Researchers found people 65 and over with excess belly fat were 37% more likely to fall.

In the diagram below, relate the human body to a seesaw in a playground. Think of your spine as the pivot point in the middle of the seesaw with two lever arms on each side. One lever arm represents the back muscles, and the other lever arm represents the belly.

To prevent tipping over and falling down, both lever arms of your ‘seesaw’ have to be balanced OR the muscles of your back have to be incredibly strong to balance the excessive weight in the front of the body.

Unfortunately, back muscles are only so big and cannot counterbalance a large belly (overweight man on the far left in diagram). As a result, the load applied to the spine triggers a cascade of degenerative processes that break down the spinal discs and damage other tissues and structures.

Why Belly Fat Increases Fall Risk


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Karen Owoc

Karen Owoc is a certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist specializing in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and lifestyle medicine. Her science-based approach to longevity, nutrition, and muscle health has made her the go-to source for health seekers and medical professionals alike. Karen's best-selling book on functional longevity, "Athletes in Aprons: The Nutrition Playbook to Break 100", and her transformative perspective have mended many minds, hearts, and spirits.

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