What is “overfat” and why does it matter?

Overfat is a usable metric for determining whether or not an individual is carrying too much body fat.  Someone is “overfat” when their waistline measurement (taken at the belly button) is greater than half their height.

Why is this metric important?  According to researchers Maffetone et al, who published a study in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, “overfat” is a better indicator for unhealthy weight and fat distribution than BMI.  Even individuals of normal weight may have excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, which is is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases, increased morbidity and mortality, and reduced quality of life.  According to the researchers, this would mean that 90% of American men are overfat.

According to an article about the study:

“A recent rise in the incidence of abdominal adiposity, the unhealthiest form of excess body fat, has been observed in both adults and children, indicating a direct link to insulin-resistance, the body’s natural propensity to convert and store carbohydrate foods as fat.

The relationship between the overfat condition and poor health is a spectrum or progression in which the vicious cycle of excess body fat, insulin resistance and chronic inflammation lie at one end, causing abnormal blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) and glucose, and elevated blood pressure, which then produces a variety of common diseases at the other end.

Being overfat is linked to hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and gout, pulmonary diseases, sleep apnea and others.”