A Family Physician Specialist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Kwame Ofori Koramoah has said that young adults of about 22 years of age are getting pot bellies.
This, he said, is becoming alarming because though not instantly, potbelly can kill because of the risk factors associated with it.
“Potbellies can kill, but not that instant. In every non-communicable condition there is, you having a potbelly increases your risk. Even for diabetes, if you are a diabetic and you just lose maybe 0.5cm of your mid-section it reduces your sugar drastically. So, you having truncal obesity increases your risk of having a heart attack, it can kill you, hypertension, it can kill you, diabetes it can kill you, malignancies it can kill you”.
He explained that pot belly is truncal obesity or central obesity.
“If you say truncal obesity, it means it is an accumulation of fat around the midsection which has a negative impact on the health of the person”, he stated.
Dr. Koramoah made this point on the GTV breakfast show on February 16, 2021, while discussing the topic “Pot Belly: Good living or health disorder?”. He said there are a couple of factors that contribute to one having a potbelly and this should not just be attributed to lots of food intake”.
“People may think it’s just eating and not exercising. No. There’re a lot of factors. They can be hormonal, if the hormones are a little bit deranged, it can cause those ones. Your activity level too can cause that, if you don’t exercise a lot, at least you are supposed to exercise at least 30 minutes every day for five days in a week, that’s the minimum you can do. If you don’t do that one, that sedentary lifestyle, you sit a lot, you don’t move around. It would increase that one,” he said.
The Doctor disclosed that there are a lot of facts people must know about potbelly in order to stop circulating the misconceptions surrounding it.
“There are other conditions that may make you have fat in the midsection like hypothyroidism. So, if you have hypothyroidism, your metabolic rate is a little bit slow, you might have fat around the midsection, so there are a lot, there is a lot that we need to know that can cause that, it’s not just eating at night, those are part, maybe high choleric intake like you have a particular meal, like lots of fatty foods. They can make you accumulate fat in the mid-section”, he stated.
He however stated that there are several physical activities one can engage in, in order to manage the truncal obesity, but should be done based on a doctor’s advice.
“If you talk about exercise, basically you are supposed to have an exercise prescription, anyone can exercise, not anyone can do any form of exercise, so if you see a family physician, they will give you an exercise prescription…So, it might be taking a walk, it might be skipping, it might be weight lifting, it might be flexibility exercises. So, there is a myriad of exercises that you can do to lose the middle section”, he added.
Interestingly pot bellies have been associated with the rich in society, due to their food and lack of exercise.
“People with high socio-economic status can get pot belly because of the diet and lack of exercise. So, if you look at the number of potbellies you see in Accra, as compared to the number of pot bellies you might see in a rural area, you get to hear it’s because of the social-economic class”, he opined.