Skip to content

This One Thing Can Predict Your Risk of Disease, Says Science

Try this one trick at home to find out if you're at risk.
doctor patient

Want to know the easiest one thing you can do to predict your risk of disease later in life? Take the jiggle test. This easy test can help you differentiate the type of fat on your body, and if your body is holding any of the fat that causes the risk of disease.

Biologically, there's an enormous difference between subcutaneous fat—the stuff that's right below your skin, the stuff that makes up love handles and the like—and visceral fat, which is inside your abdominal wall, wrapped around your internal organs. The easiest way to tell the differences might be this: subcutaneous fat jiggles, but visceral fat doesn't. Subcutaneous fat is fat you can pinch; visceral fat is the solid stuff that makes your gut stick out. And unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat isn't just hanging out, keeping us warm. It's a lot more dangerous to our bodies than you think.

Here's why, and for more helpful tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

Visceral fat secretes more than 100 biochemicals, which are collectively known as adipokines. But they ought to be known as adipo-unkinds, because they include such nasty substances as:

  • Resistin, a hormone that undermines your body's ability to metabolize glucose ad leads to high blood sugar
  • Angiotensinogen, a compound that raises blood pressure
  • Interleukin-6, a chemical associated with arterial inflammation

Tumor necrosis factor—which is as bad as it sounds—causes inflammatory issues such as Crohn's disease and various forms of arthritis.

Now, this is a bit different for those that have "pear-shaped" bodies. Studies suggest that subcutaneous fat in your hips and thighs is associated with reduced insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity (meaning that it actually protects against diabetes). People who are "pear-shaped" and store fat in their hips and thighs also tend to have higher HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and lower triglycerides.

According to the National Institutes of Health, people who carry excess fat around their waists are at a greater risk of dying early from cancer and heart disease. So, the jiggle or pinch test can clue you into the need to reduce your visceral belly fat. An even better test involves a tape measure. Just wrap it around your waist at your belly button so the tape is parallel with the floor. Read it and consider the findings of an analysis of waist circumference and mortality in 650,000 adults published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The data determined that men with a waist circumference of 43 inches had more than a 50% greater risk of death than did men with a 37-inch waist. And women with a 37-inch waist had an 80% higher risk of death than women with a 27.5-inch waist.

For more information on the dangers of visceral fat and a practical guide to getting rid of it, check out my book Zero Belly Diet: Lose Up to 16 lbs. in 14 Days!.

David Zinczenko
Dave is a globally recognized expert in health, fitness, nutrition, and weight loss and is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 25 books in 15 languages. Read more
Filed Under