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The Fat Belly Burden,Can Bariatric Surgery is a Good Option as a Last Resort

can raise your risks for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

And belly fat can be a sign of something more: Metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems that include too much fat around the waist, elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides, and low “good” HDL cholesterol — all boosting your risks of disease.

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Making matters worse, losing belly fat can sometimes seem daunting. For many people, diet and exercise don’t always work. Luckily, we’ve got options like FDA-approved weight loss medications and even surgery.

“All fat is challenging to get off, period,” says Howard J. Eisenson, MD, medical director of Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical Center. But “belly fat is not particularly tenacious fat to get rid of… it actually comes off fairly easily. Frankly, if you reduce calories and exercise more, you will lose weight everywhere — including your abdomen.”

While Eisenson considers diet and exercise the most effective weight loss strategies, he acknowledges that there’s a role for medical treatments.

Keeping the weight off is what’s most difficult, he says. “Very commonly, people start to gain the weight back. A year out, and they have regained 30% to 50% of the weight they lost. If a drug can help people keep off what they’ve lost, that’s meaningful.”

Fortunately there are a few weight loss drugs that help in that regard.

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