What the Location of Your Fat Says About Your Health

Every one of us is unique and we all have our own body shape. Unless you have an identical twin, you likely don’t even have the same exact shape as your closest family members. That said, there are some generalizations about the location of your fat on your body and what it can help you understand about your health.

It’s easy to think that all fat is created equal. After all, we tend to think of it as that unwanted jiggly stuff that just doesn’t seem to want to go away from our bellies, thighs, backsides or even our arms, necks and faces. The truth of the matter is that the location of your fat makes a difference. The places where the largest stores are located on your body can tell you something about your overall wellness and your risk of certain health conditions.

The location of your fat shows you the type of fat you have in varying amounts on your body. Consider the following areas and what this means about your health:

• Back of your neck

Fat located in the area of the back of your neck is known as brown adipose tissue (BAT), or brown fat. This is the type of fat that turns your food energy into heat. When you’re in a cold room or outside in the winter, it cranks up the furnace in your body and uses calories as its fuel. This type of fat is actually helpful to weight loss or maintenance.

• Hips and thighs

This area of your body is where white fat is stored. Also known as subcutaneous fat, it’s the stuff that forms immediately beneath the skin. Though excessive amounts of any fat isn’t good for you, a certain amount of white fat is actually considered to be quite healthy. In fact, a 2004 study that monitored women who underwent liposuction to remove a substantial amount of white fat, determined that this change had no impact on cholesterol levels or blood pressure.

• Collarbone area

If you have fat in this area, it is considered to be beige fat. That is because it combines both white and brown forms. Unlike the layer under the skin that forms with white fat, this is stored in pea-sized deposits along the spine and close to the collarbones. This type of fat can be produced as a result of cold weather and exercise and occurs as a result of “browning” of white fat, turning it beige.

• Belly fat

This is called visceral fat. It is a type of white fat that wraps itself around the internal organs. A little bit of it doesn’t hurt anything, but when there is too much, to the point that it protrudes externally, it can start to reduce blood flow to certain organs, while forcing blood flow into others.

What the Location of Your Fat Says About Your Health

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