Lifestyle Factors That Increase Belly FatThe most obvious factors that can cause belly weight gain are a lack of exercise and poor diet. Excess calories in the diet, specifically from sugar and starch, can cause the body to store fat. Consuming a higher-protein diet may help shed abdominal fat, compared to a lower-protein diet, according to a 2002 study published in Diabetes Care. Get your carbs from nutrient-rich foods such as legumes, fruits and unprocessed whole grains. Limit sugar and focus on incorporating healthy fats like olive oil and avocado rather than saturated fats.
A sedentary lifestyle increases fat storage, while vigorous exercise releases catecholamines -- hormones that are effective at burning abdominal fat. Thirty to 60 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise can help combat belly fat, according to Harvard Medical School. These lifestyle changes tend to reduce visceral belly fat, the inner fat that surrounds your organs, which is more dangerous to your health than the pinchable layer of fat under the skin.