Wider waist line may mean shorter lifespan

Big belly in society is often celebrated as a sign of good living but available research findings prove otherwise.
Having a big belly means big trouble when it comes to your health. Analysis of various studies of more than 600,000 people worldwide shows that people with large waist circumferences are at increased risk of dying younger and dying from conditions such as heart disease, lung problems and cancer.
Men with waists of 43 inches or more had a 50 percent higher risk of death than those with waists less than 35 inches. This equates to a three-year lower life expectancy after age 40, according to the study. Women with waists of 37 inches or more had an 80 percent higher risk of death than those with waists of 27 inches or less, which equates to a five-year lower life expectancy after age 40. Interestingly, for every two inches of increased waist circumference, the risk of death increases seven per cent in men and nine per cent in women, the study concluded.
Despite improved participation in regular exercise and fruits and vegetable consumption, obesity remains a global health problem. Obesity, having been mentionedseveral times in this column, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. With about 300 million obese adults worldwide, obesity has become a problem which cannot be ignored. With imbibed culture from Westerners, the rate of obesity is equally increasing in our community. Wider waist line (circumference) is a measure of obesity. Please, watch yours. 

How do I know I am obese?
Obesity simply means overweight. Once your weight is above that for your height and age, you are obese. Over-eating is the primary cause of obesity. When you eat more than what your body burns off, you retains calories and gather weight. Other causes are hereditary and hormonal disturbances especially in females.  

Types of obesity
Apple shaped obesity- like the shape of apple with excess weight around the stomach, otherwise called abdominal fat or pot belly. This is commoner among wealthy Nigerians
Pear shaped obesity- excess fat around the stomach and the hips. Females are most affected.
Central obesity is the most worrying with central pot belly, thin and slender limbs. Central obesity is commoner among Indians.

What type of obesity is yours? Check now. The quickest estimate is using Brocas index which is height in centimeters minus 100. That means that one with height of 176cm should have ideal weight of 76kg. The universally accepted formula is body mass index (BMI) which is weight in kg divided by height in meter square.  BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2 is normal, 25-29.9kg/m2 is overweight while >30 is obese.

 Abdominal obesity increases the risk of diabetes and CVD. Abdominal obesity is seen in   men with waist circumference > 102 cm, 40 inches, and women> 88cm, 35 inches. If you find yourself in obese category, try and lose weight. Cut off 10 per cent of your current weight at rate of 0.45kg to 0.9kg a week for six months.

How do I loose weight?
There are various weight reduction programmes for you. Choose the ones that best suit you. The approach is through diet control, behavioural therapy, drugs and possibly, at the extreme, surgery. Those using drugs to control weight may not achieve much. Drug therapy may only cause five to ten per cent non -sustainable reduction in weight.
Behavioural  approach: Set two or three goals at a time, rather than follow all the steps that cannot be sustained.  Walk for 30 minutes for most days (five) of the week. Ideally, it should be five kilometre trek daily which is not likely sustainable except with much discipline.
Maintain a food diary to record your calorie intake. Don’t eat while watching television and try and meet friends and colleagues in non -food setting. Keep fresh fruits available at home, rather than pastries’ and chocolates. Take up regular sports and weigh yourself regularly.
If the above conservative management fails and you are morbidly obese, surgical intervention may be the next option but it’s not without complications.
 Let me end with the story of a man who had found it difficult to follow diet guidelines. He said while in school, he could not afford major food items like egg. He was, most days, on gari. Now that he has a job and can afford egg, it will be difficult to limit the rate at which he consumes it. It sounds funny but it’s the truth.  I agree, I can only plead with all of us with same view to please maintain waist line at the level that is heart healthy.  Be mindful of your weight do not cut short your life.


No comments:

Post a Comment