Who Is Most at Risk of Weight Gain in Stomach Area only?

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Your metabolism, appetite and cravings can also influence your waistline. Visceral fat, the type of fat that gives some women an apple shape, is associated with increased chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes

Many different factors can influence where fat is stored in the body. For example, those who have "apple shapes," with bigger hips and thighs, are more likely to have subcutaneous fat, while those who have wider waistlines have visceral fat, which encases the organs.

In addition, certain medications can lead to weight gain in the stomach area.

Family History

Family history may be a risk factor for weight gain in stomach area only because genetics can influence how and where fat is distributed throughout your body. Your metabolism, appetite and cravings can also influence your waistline. Visceral fat, the type of fat that gives some women an apple shape, is associated with increased chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. A recent study found that weight gained in early adulthood and a person's subsequent waistline trajectories were associated with various health outcomes, including cholelithiasis, severe osteoarthritis, cataracts, a composite healthy aging outcome and cancer (IRR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.5-8.3).


SSRIs -- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft) -- are a class of antidepressants that can cause weight gain by increasing your levels of the mood-balancing neurotransmitter serotonin. This can affect your appetite and your ability to exercise, says Emmel. He notes that a few studies have found that SSRIs also raise your risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and stroke.

MAOIs -- monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Aplenzine) -- also cause weight gain by blocking a chemical in the brain that breaks down mood-balancing neurotransmitters. They also can impair your metabolism and increase cholesterol and triglycerides, says Nouhavandi. Other drugs, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa) and ziprasidone (Geodon), can increase the likelihood of weight gain as well.


Stress is an emotional or physical reaction to any kind of challenge or demand. Stress can be good, such as when you're escaping from a danger or meeting a deadline, but it can also be bad for your health, especially if it lasts long. Long-term stress is linked to gastrointestinal issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and stomach ulcers, cardiovascular disease and poor sleep habits. It can also cause a buildup of fat around the belly and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Stress causes the body to produce cortisol, a hormone that influences where and how much fat is stored. Cortisol affects fat distribution by causing the body to store more fat in the abdomen and around organs, which is called visceral fat. People who have high levels of cortisol tend to be more stressed and eat more calories, leading to weight gain and belly fat.

A person's ability to handle stress depends on a variety of factors, including his or her coping skills and the perception that she can control events that are out of his or her control. Some people have a sense of control over their lives and are better able to deal with the ups and downs of life, while others find it difficult to cope with everyday stressors such as getting the kids to school on time or paying bills.

Weight gain specifically in the stomach area typically involves the accumulation of fat around the abdomen without significant weight gain in other parts of the body. This could result in a protruding or larger belly compared to the rest of the body.

Consulting with healthcare professionals ensures personalized guidance and support in managing weight gain in the stomach area. Remember, the goal is not just shedding belly fat but enhancing overall health and well-being for the long term. Prioritizing health over aesthetics is key, and gradual, sustainable changes foster a healthier lifestyle.


In addition to influencing how a person copes with stress, chronic stress can cause changes in gut bacteria, which in turn can influence the mood. For example, studies show that when a person is under stress, the amount of Firmicutes bacteria in his or her intestines increases, which can lead to low moods, as well as gas production and poor digestion (80). The good news is that there are many ways to reduce stress, such as meditation, yoga and exercise.