Tack­ling Silent Killers Part 2


Better Health - - CONTENTS - By Len­nox Prescod

In our last col­umn, we ex­plored the im­por­tance of achiev­ing well­ness, which is an over­all bal­ance of phys­i­cal, spir­i­tual, emo­tional, in­tel­lec­tual, en­vi­ron­men­tal and oc­cu­pa­tional well-be­ing. This month, we turn our at­ten­tion to obe­sity.

Dis­eases linked to Obe­sity

Obe­sity is a con­di­tion caused by ex­cess eat­ing and lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity/be­ing seden­tary. It is rep­re­sented by a Body Mass In­dex of be­tween 30-40. Obe­sity is also de­fined as the health con­di­tion of any­one whose weight is sig­nif­i­cantly above his/her ideal weight.

The fol­low­ing dis­eases are linked to over­weight and obe­sity; high blood pres­sure, di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and stroke, gall­blad­der dis­ease and gall­stones, os­teoarthri­tis, gout, sleep ap­nea (where a per­son stops breath­ing for short episodes dur­ing sleep) and asthma.

Blood Pres­sure and Obe­sity

With in­creased weight, it takes more pres­sure to move blood around the body. This means that the heart does not rest as it should and beats con­tin­u­ously. Where the weight gain is in the ab­dom­i­nal area there is a greater risk for high blood pres­sure and in­creased blood pres­sure leads to heart at­tack and stroke.

Type 2 Di­a­betes and Obe­sity

Be­ing over­weight or obese in­creases the chances of de­vel­op­ing type 2 di­a­betes. Even though the body is pro­duc­ing enough in­sulin, the in­creased fat causes the cells to be­come re­sis­tant to the in­sulin. In­sulin is needed to take glu­cose/sugar from the blood into the red blood cells where it is bro­ken down and used as en­ergy. Obe­sity al­lows the sugar to re­main cir­cu­lat­ing in the blood, out­side of the cells where it in­creases the risk for di­a­betes.

Os­teoarthri­tis de­vel­ops be­cause the weight af­fects the car­ti­lage in the knee joints, caus­ing them to be­come de­fec­tive.

Achiev­ing Well­ness through Life­style Change

Life­style change is the phe­nom­e­non that em­braces eat­ing healthy, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and ex­er­cise, drink­ing wa­ter and eat­ing veg­eta­bles and fruit as part of our daily ac­tiv­i­ties. To achieve this life­style, peo­ple need to pay at­ten­tion to the foods and drinks they con­sume by read­ing la­bels to see the amounts of fats, salt/sodium, choles­terol and sug­ars that are in them. They also need to pay close at­ten­tion to por­tion sizes and ac­cept the serv­ing size for the prod­uct they are us­ing.

Be­ing ac­tive is very im­por­tant to life­style change. Ac­tiv­i­ties such as skip­ping, run­ning, walk­ing and swim­ming should be done for a min­i­mum of 35 min­utes three to five days per week. Wear­ing pe­dome­ters or track­ers are good de­vices to im­prove phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Pop­u­lar short course ex­er­cises found on Youtube that are done at home are also help­ful for phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

How the BH 20 Chal­lengers have man­aged to lose weight

The chart shows the fit­ness com­peti­tors’ re­sults at the end of six weeks. It clearly demon­strates the re­la­tion­ship be­tween life­style change and im­prove­ment in bio­met­ric val­ues. The Chal­lengers cre­ated new life­styles that in­clude ex­er­cise and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, healthy eat­ing, nu­tri­tional sup­port, cook­ing demon­stra­tions, read­ing food and drink la­bels, and mo­ti­va­tional ac­tiv­ity. They sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced their in­take of sug­ary foods and drinks and in­creased their in­take of wa­ter, veg­eta­bles and fruit.

Ev­ery Chal­lenger, ex­cept one, has to date seen re­duc­tions in their waist cir­cum­fer­ence, blood pres­sure and body mass in­dex. We look for­ward to their re­sults at the end of three months. These ac­tiv­i­ties re­sulted in re­duc­tions in blood pres­sure, body mass in­dex, and waist cir­cum­fer­ence. Even per­sons who do not have hy­per­ten­sion lose blood pres­sure points, which fur­ther in­di­cates the power of life­style change.

It has been well demon­strated that weight loss has a ben­e­fi­cial im­pact on chronic non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases such as hy­per­ten­sion, di­a­betes, car­diac dis­eases and el­e­vated choles­terol.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween blood pres­sure, weight loss and di­ets has been stud­ied. Re­searchers from the Cochrane Col­lab­o­ra­tion tested whether there is any sci­en­tific ev­i­dence to sup­port the hy­poth­e­sis that weight loss can re­duce hy­per­ten­sion val­ues. The re­searchers found eight stud­ies with a to­tal of 2 100 par­tic­i­pants that looked at the ef­fect of var­i­ous di­ets on blood pres­sure. Most stud­ies lasted one year. Par­tic­i­pants lost about nine pounds on av­er­age and by do­ing this, were able to lower the blood pres­sure. The sys­tolic value fell by 4.5 mm/hg and the Di­as­tolic by 3 mm/hg.

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