“I don’t like potbellied men because they are unattractive and clumsy” says Mildred Okoli. Same goes for majority of the average Nigerian girls except those who don’t care as long as the man has some Naira to throw their way.
For several women who are averse to pot-bellied men, the main reason is that their protruding tummies make copulation/sex awkward. Dr Gabriel Omonaiye adds his voice to say that one of the known factors that contribute to central obesity (potbelly) is low testoterone level and at that level, sexual performance/ libido is low as well.
It becomes even more dangerous when a potbellied man has health risks like diabetes because diabetes is a known cause of erectile dysfunction. The same applies to men with cardiovascular disease because sexual performance is hampered.
The popular belief in Nigeria is that a potbelly is a sign of affluence but contrary to that, Lagos-based medical practitioner, Dr Gabriel Omonaiye says potbelly could be a signal that something is wrong with the health of the individual and can predispose him to some diseases.
Such diseases include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus especially type 2 and insulin resistance. There is also a link between central obesity (potbelly) and Alzheimer’s disease, a metabolic condition known as syndrome X, which is a condition in which an individual is hypertensive, obese and has lipid disorders. If not well handled in some cases, it can lead to untimely death.
It’s also known that people who have potbelly find it difficult to breathe in conditions like sleep apnea and asthma. Other dangers include hypertension.
A potbelly results from excessive deposit of fat in the stomach/abdominal cavity to the extent of causing health problems. Other names for potbelly are central obesity, which is the medical name, beer belly, beer gut and “spare tyre”.
Women also suffer potbelly but it is not as common as in men especially for women who are premenopausal. It’s commoner in men.
Potbelly is essentially due to imbalance in energy metabolism, when there is excessive energy deposit- the energy intake is more than the energy expended. When one eats, it involves intake of energy/calories and when she/he exercises, energy is burnt off. So, if the balance is excessive, it becomes net energy imbalance. Other factors also contribute to potbelly.
Factors like excessive intake of fructose (a form of sugar), excessive consumption of meat, oestrogenic compounds in the body (they are chemicals in the body known as oestrogen if consumed/used as drugs), excess and regular alcohol intake, cushion syndrome, drugs like steroids, protease inhibitors used in the treatment of HIV, in some women, condition like polycystic ovarian disease are known to be responsible for potbelly.
Diagnosis is made by looking at the physique of the patient, taking the BMI (body mass index), weight to hip ratio and weight to height ratio.
In the event of a potbelly diagnosis , the following steps will help to fight it:
*Regular exercise and exercise of the abdominal muscles for firmness. See a Pysiotherapist for proper counseling.
■ Proper posture while sitting or standing- avoid being bent over.
■ It’s good to eat dinner 2-3 hours before going to bed
as well as doing brisk and regular walking.
■ Reduce fat intake, avoid junk and fried foods.
You’re also encouraged to eat more of fruits and green vegetables.
■ Reduce alcohol intake and soda drinks.
If there are other problems with potbelly like hypertension and heart disease, they should be treated.
Meanwhile, a potbelly is not known to be hereditary but rather the health risk is.
The percentage of men that would have potbelly is dependent on the aforementioned factors and men as early as in their 20s have been seen to possess potbelly especially if they indulge in these habits but potbelly tends to occur more among middle-aged men.