Researchers found people with excess abdominal fat carry higher health risks even among people with normal body weight. In a study led by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, researchers analyzed the data of more than 15,000 people and in the span of 14 years.

Findings showed that men with normal body mass index (BMI) and central obesity have higher mortality risk compared to men with normal BMI but without the belly fat or men with a uniform fat distribution in the body and classified overweight based on BMI. The results also showed that normal-weight men and women with excess belly fat had the worst long-term survival rates.

How To Get Rid of Belly Fat

While deep belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is needed to cushion vital organs, too much is a risk factor in diseases such as type 2 diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease and even colon and breast cancer. What people think as stubborn and unmoving fat isn't idle at all. Rather, it remains active inside the body and produces nasty substances, said Dr. Kristen Hairston, Wake Forest School of Medicine's assistant professor of metabolism and endocrinology.

Vigorous exercise is a tried-and-tested solution to burn belly fat. A 30-minute moderate exercise done five days a week would suffice as long as the heart rate is elevated, leaving you sweating after even a short period of time. Duke researcher Dr. Cris Slentz suggests going for a jog if you're fit enough. For people who are still starting their fitness journey, brisk walking counts as exercise.

Loading up on fiber, even as little as 10 grams of soluble fiber daily helps in the healthy maintenance of visceral fat. Switching to healthy alternatives can help you lose weight.

"About 99 percent of people who lose weight tend to shed it in the abdominal region before they do anywhere else," said Mayo Clinic's professor of medicine, Michael Jensen.

Reducing intake or totally abstaining from soda and other sugary drinks will do wonders. Increasing your protein intake offers good, long-term benefits by helping build muscles and lowering cravings that often lead to mindless snacking. Getting enough sleep helps in weight loss management.

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