FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo.-Men, for the most part, complain that they gain weight in their waistline. This can be frustrating and uncomfortable for most and can cause concerns with other health issues associated with carrying extra weight in their midsections.

Here are some reasons men tend to carry a few extra pounds in their belly.

Low Testosterone Levels
Belly fat and low testosterone are known to be linked with each other. As many men age their testosterone levels tend to decrease and they tend to gain more belly fat. Body fat has an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogens. When someone has higher estrogen levels in their body, their hormonal system tells the body to slow down its production of testosterone. Less testosterone tends to mean more belly fat. It's common for men to lose testosterone as they age, however weight gain can accelerate the process. Staying active and eating healthy can help men avoid the annoying habit of developing the infamous "pot belly."

Genetics
Have you ever noticed how some relatives seem to all have similar body shapes and gain weight in similar areas? Genetics does play a role in fat storage. Fat cells are all over the bodies and some areas have more fat cells than others. The body will gain more fat in the "fat-favored" areas. Fat cells contain hormones, toxins, and triglycerides all of which contribute to the growth and storage of fat. Unfortunately some families are at higher risk to gain fat in unhealthy area.

Carrying extra fat in your waistline can be annoying and cause a number of health issues. Take the time to really assess your lifestyle and see where you could make changes to ensure you don't end up with this issue. Ensuring that exercise and eating a healthy diet are a part of your everyday routine can be critical to your health.

Physical Activity
Try to get in 30 min of cardio at least four days a week and incorporate two days a week of strength/resistance training. Building and maintaining muscle is beneficial to maintaining healthy testosterone levels.

Nutrition
Eat the right amount of calories. Men tend to need at least 1,800 calories a day. Not eating enough or eating too much can both cause belly fat. When you eat too little it can cause the body to store fat to use as energy later because it is not currently getting enough food for energy to use throughout the day. Ensuring you eat the right amount of calories based on your resting metabolic rate and lifestyle can effectively aid in developing and maintaining a healthy weight.

(Editor's note: Kaylene Pursley, Health Educator at Fort Leonard Wood's Army Wellness Center)