How to Reduce Visceral Fat on Your Body

— Written By Lethia Lee and last updated by Patricia Burch
en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

First of all, what is visceral fat? Visceral fat is adipose (fat tissue) that surrounds your vital organs. Where is it located? You’ll find it deep inside your body and it is sometimes referred to as belly fat. If you have much visceral fat, you may be at a higher risk for certain health conditions and diseases. You might be wondering why the term visceral is used to describe it. The reason is that there are two different kinds of fat in your belly and visceral fat is only one of them. In a health setting the word visceral means in or near your vital organs. These are organs deep in your gut, like your stomach and your intestines. Visceral muscles are found in the walls of your visceral organs. Visceral fat surrounds those organs. Since your vital organs are located in your midsection, visceral fat accumulates in the area around your belly.

One thing to note here is that not all belly fat is visceral fat. There is another kind of fat called subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is located underneath the skin. This kind of fat is located all over your body and is important for your body to function properly. Here are some reasons why you might want to reduce visceral fat. With too much visceral fat, you have a condition called visceral obesity. Doctors sometimes call this condition visceral adiposity. While too much of any kind of fat can be dangerous, there are certain health risks associated with having too much visceral fat. People with visceral fat are at higher risk for several conditions including:

  • Insulin Resistance
  • Glucose Intolerance
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease

You may want to talk with your healthcare provider about your risk for these diseases and how your visceral fat may play a role in that risk level. Your doctor may want to measure your visceral fat and make recommendations based on the results.

So how do you measure visceral fat? If you are attending a health club or educational setting, a clinician might estimate your visceral fat by taking a waist measurement. Your belly measurement can provide insight into the amount of fat that you are carrying around your vital organs. You can also measure your own belly fat at home. To get the best measurement, use a flexible tape measure. Wrap it around the widest part of your stomach, across your belly button. The tape measure should rest gently on your skin: Once the tape measure is positioned correctly, breathe in and then take the measurement on the exhale. Men and woman have different numbers that may indicate visceral adiposity. For men with a waist measurement greater than 40 inches, and women with a waist measurement greater than 35 inches,  you are at a higher risk for visceral adiposity. Your health care provider can do a more extensive diagnostic test to accurately measure your visceral fat so that you are able to better predict your risk for disease.

It’s not uncommon to have belly fat that you want to lose, most of us do. To lose the fat, you will need to increase your daily activity and reduce your food intake. I know that you see all kinds of pills that may make the claim to reduce belly fat, but most of those products don’t work and some can even be dangerous. If you are concerned about belly fat, talk with your doctor, He or she can explain how visceral fat affects your specific risk for disease. Knowing these facts about your health might help you to make the changes necessary to reduce your visceral fat, reach a safer weight and keep a trim midsection.

For more information concerning visceral fat or sometimes known as (belly bat) contact Lethia Lee at 910-592-7161 or