Reclaim your belly: ways to manage excess visceral abdominal fat

It may be challenging to get rid of excess visceral abdominal fat, but like many chronic health conditions, you have the power to manage it and live a full life!

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How is excess visceral abdominal fat diagnosed?

While there is no standardized test for diagnosing excess visceral abdominal fat, the following are some common ways your healthcare provider may determine if you have the condition:

Palpate your abdomen/belly for firmness

Measure your waist and hips

Calculate your waist-to-hip ratio

Ask questions (about your symptoms, medical history, and HIV therapy regimen)

Think you might be at risk for excess visceral abdominal fat?
Take the short test below to find out and discuss the results with your healthcare provider!

Measure your Waist-To-Hip Ratio

Measure your waist-to-hip ratio to take the first step in understanding if you may be living with excess visceral abdominal fat. You’ll need a measuring tape.

Tips on how to measure your waist and hip circumference

First, grab your measuring tape and stand up straight.


  1. Stand up straight and place a measuring tape around your middle, just above your hip bones.
  2. Measure at the level of the top of the hip bones and in line with your belly button.
  3. Keep the measuring tape horizontal around your waist.
  4. Do not compress the skin but keep the measuring tape snug around your waist.
  5. Breathe out before measuring.


  1. Stand up straight and place the measuring tape around the widest portion of the buttocks.
  2. Make sure the measuring tape is horizontal before measuring.

Measure your waist and hip circumference:


Just a couple more questions before you can get your results

Your assigned sex at birth is:
Does the fat on your abdomen/belly feel firm?
Are you currently taking HIV medications?


Could it be excess visceral abdominal fat?

Your waist circumference:

1 inches
1 centimeters

Your hip circumference:

1 inches
1 centimeters

Your assigned sex at birth is:


Does the fat on your abdomen/belly feel firm?


Are you currently taking HIV medications?


Your waist-to-hip ratio is: 1
Your results indicate that you may be at risk for excess visceral abdominal fat.* Please discuss these results with your healthcare provider.

How much is too much?


If either your waist circumference exceeds 37.4 inches (95 cm) for people assigned male at birth, 37 inches (94 cm) for people assigned female at birth, OR your waist-hip ratio exceeds 0.94 for people assigned male at birth, 0.88 for people assigned female at birth, you should have a discussion with your healthcare provider and ask what treatment is right for you.

Be sure to discuss these results with your healthcare provider!

Use the Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide to help you start a conversation with a healthcare provider knowledgeable about HIV and excess visceral abdominal fat. You can also download the guide to take with you when you meet your healthcare provider.

This tool is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a medical assessment or diagnosis and should not be interpreted as medical advice.

Healthcare Provider Discussion Guide

* Indicators of excess visceral abdominal fat based on inclusion criteria in clinical trials.

What are my treatment options?

The most important step for people with HIV to manage excess visceral abdominal fat is to work closely with a healthcare provider. Together, you will be able to come up with a personalized healthcare plan that will consider your specific needs and concerns, including the management of excess visceral abdominal fat.

The management strategies may involve a combination of medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and regular monitoring to maintain optimal health and well-being.

Ready for a conversation with your healthcare provider? Here are a couple of resources to get you started:

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Living well with excess visceral abdominal fat

There are treatment options available to help manage excess visceral abdominal fat. Your healthcare provider can help you receive a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that best suits your needs. Working as a team with your healthcare provider and taking a holistic approach to your healthcare can make all the difference in how you feel!

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Here are a couple of things you can do to start tackling excess visceral abdominal fat:

Understand your health

Prioritize your well-being with regular medical check-ups. Schedule routine appointments with your healthcare provider(s) to monitor your health, address any concerns, and ensure proactive management of your overall well-being.

Taking care of yourself

Eating well, staying active, and finding ways to manage stress can make a big difference. Talk to someone if you're feeling down or stressed about your body changes.

Stay consistent

Once you and your healthcare provider find a treatment strategy that works for you, keeping up with it and establishing a routine will help set you up for success. There is no overnight solution, and it will take time to see changes in excess visceral abdominal fat!

New treatments and a better understanding of HIV mean that people with HIV can live longer, healthier lives. Talk to your healthcare provider about strategies to support healthy aging while managing HIV and excess visceral abdominal fat!