There is a pot belly epidemic – Emeka Nwolisa

There is a pot belly epidemic – Emeka Nwolisa
They are everywhere. You can’t miss them in a crowd. Though ‘the economy is bad’ seems to be the song everywhere these days, the economy is bad is not for them. They are men with a pot belly. I am amazed no witty wag of a groom has inserted ‘couple with men with pot belly’ in the order of after wedding photographs.
Yes na, you have ‘couple with men on suit’ and ‘couple with Asoebi ladies’, so why not ‘couple with pot-bellied men?’ They are entitled to the same type of haircut given to Albert as the Igbos would say.
Potbelly is an everyday term commonly used to refer to abdominal obesity. The features of pot belly include an outward protrusion of the abdomen with an increased diameter of the abdomen on account of excessive accumulation of fat.
Fat is commonly found between the skin and muscles and pot belly develops when there is excess fat deposited around the abdominal area or if the abdominal muscles are weak. Potbellies do not just happen. There are things that cause them and they are often lifestyle-related.
Common predisposing factors for developing a pot belly include excessive intake of alcohol.  Alcoholic drinks cause it because the liver prioritizes burning alcohol before breaking down fat. This allows more fat to be stored in the body.
Carbohydrates are an essential part of the average Nigerian meal. The ‘good’ carbs are usually unrefined while the not so good ones are commonly refined ones like biscuits, cakes, donuts, and pastries. Regular and excessive intake of refined ‘carbs’ can increase the risk of a pot belly. The excess sugar generated by these ‘carbs’ are commonly stored by the body as fats.
We all get stressed but when stress becomes excessive, the individual’s coping mechanism breaks down. At this stage, the body is caused to produce excessive amounts of Cortisol. This hormone moves the stored fat to the abdomen area and creates a pot belly.
Genetics further plays a role in deciding where the fat distribution goes in the body. Three basic human body types are the endomorph, characterized by a preponderance of body fat; the mesomorph, marked by a well-developed musculature; and the ectomorph, distinguished by a lack of much fat or muscle tissue.
So, while two individuals may have issues with their lifestyle choices, one may develop pot belly while the other would not because of the genetically determined body shape type.
A sedentary lifestyle is also a major cause of pot belly. In a sedentary lifestyle, there is little or no physical activity. A person living a sedentary lifestyle has little or no physical exercises. Life revolves around activities like reading, socializing, watching television and playing video games or using a mobile phone/computer for much of the day.
It is worthy of note that pot belly is not necessarily peculiar to overweight or obese individuals as people with apparent normal weight may have unhealthy abdominal girth or waistline and would, therefore, be regarded as having a pot belly.
It is equally worthy of note that abdominal fat in obesity is far more dangerous to general health than fat found under the skin and fat found in skeletal muscle. Not surprising, pot belly has been linked to several health conditions including the following: hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, erectile dysfunction, and certain cancers. In other words, pot belly can affect activities in ‘za oza room’.
Dealing with or preventing pot belly should not follow a fire brigade approach. It should be deliberate, systematic and the willpower to succeed should be involved.
Things to do include avoiding excessive alcohol intake, reduction in the volume of food eaten and reduction in the intake of refined foods. It’s important too to address stressors and reduce stress in addition to involvement in physical activities including games, workouts, and exercises.  The rule truly is to eat fewer calories than you burn.
So when next you see a ‘bros’ with a pot belly, just remember that there is a potential six-pack hidden inside. The crucial factor is the willpower to make the six pack manifest.
Abeg, chop knuckles all the potbelly dudes aspiring and striving for six packs. May Oluwa bless your hustle.

Lilian Osigwe Editor

A Creative and Versatile Writer.  
Currently writes for SabiNews Media

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