What Causes Back Fat?

Back fat is usually common among people with overweight.

Excess fat commonly accumulates on the back and can increase your shirt size, bra size and be an indication of having overweight. Though medical conditions, genetics and medicine can cause weight gain, a lack of physical activity and poor nutrition habits are the most common culprits.


Activity Level

Take inventory of your daily activities. If you find that you sit most of the day and perform minimal physical activity, you likely live a sedentary lifestyle. Your body needs a fuel source for any activity. It first burns any stored sugar, then it uses body fat. If you don't use these fuel sources, your body can suffer from a decreased metabolism and gradually accumulate weight.


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Dietary Habits

Consider what you eat and drink each day. Think about where your food products come from. Are they processed foods with additives and preservatives, or are they foods that come from natural sources? Foods that come from fast-food restaurants or are bought in packages are typically ultra-processed foods. These food products are most commonly high in fat, calories, carbohydrates, added sugar and sodium. Your body needs these items to function but doesn't need as many as most prepared foods come with. A diet that's high in fat, sugar and calories can lead to excessive weight and back fat.



If you have back fat, it's likely that you have body fat in other places. Although fat can seem to accumulate easier in one spot than another on your body, it's not common for only one spot on your body to gain weight. If you have enough body fat to have overweight or obesity, you are potentially jeopardizing your physical health. Having overweight can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, sleep apnea, stroke and high blood pressure.



There's no such thing as exercises to lose weight in just one area, but you can reduce your back fat while improving your entire body composition. Start with a few minutes of exercise each day. It can be as little as five to 10 minutes per session. Work toward completing 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week. Aerobic exercise can include anything that engages most of your body and keeps your heart rate elevated -- such as swimming, tennis, basketball, racquetball, running and walking. The American College of Sports Medicine also recommends that you perform two sessions of strength training a week. Strength training builds muscle tissue, reduces body fat, speeds your metabolism -- burning calories even when you're stationary -- and improves your fitness output. To make your diet more health conscious, include a variety of foods from all of the food groups. Eat more vegetables, fruits, grains, meats and dairy products. Aim for low-fat, fat-free, sugar-free and organic products that provide nutrients without additives.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

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