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What's your shape?

If you're carrying extra weight around your middle, you're also carrying extra risk for serious health threats.

Apple? Or pear?

When it comes to excess weight, people typically come in two general shapes. The "apples" carry their weight around the waist, while the "pears" tend to gain weight in the hips, thighs and buttocks.

Knowing your shape is important because where you carry extra pounds can add to your risk of obesity-related diseases. Having too much belly fat is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure.

Extra fat around your waist may harm your health more than fat in your hips and thighs, according to the National Institutes of Health.

To find out if your shape is putting you at extra risk, grab a measuring tape and see how your waist sizes up. Put the tape measure around your bare tummy, just above the hipbones. The tape should be snug but not digging into your skin. It should also be parallel to the floor, not slanting. Exhale and relax your tummy—then measure.

For (non-pregnant) women, a 35-inch or larger waist means a higher risk for disease. For men, the risk increases at 40 inches or more.

If your waist measurement falls into the risky category, talk to your doctor about how best to lose some of those inches.

reviewed 10/25/2019

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