Tackling Silent Killers Part 2
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.