Increased Body Fat – It’s Not Just About How We Look!

March 5, 2010 at 11:37 am | Posted in Health & Nutrition, Lifestyle | Leave a comment
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At a time when the USA and Australia are vying for the dubious distinction of being the fattest nation on the planet (in Australia 1 in 2 adults are overweight or obese) the research is focusing on the health risks of increased body fat.

Increased body fat is now the number 1 health issue and a primary cause of a scary list of serious health problems.

In a nutshell – if we do not adequately address this issue it has the potential to swamp health systems. Health care costs are out of control in almost every developed country and threaten to dominate the budget of every government.

There is a clear link between chronic disease and lifestyle and significantly, increased body fat.

State and Federal governments in Australia have initiated specific programmes to increase the focus on this problem. Some excerpts from their web site are compelling:

The fact is that irrespective of your height or build, if your waistline is getting bigger it could mean you are at increased risk of developing a chronic disease such as some cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. A waist measurement of greater than 94cm (37 inches) for men or 80cm (31½ inches) for women is an indicator of the internal fat deposits, which coat the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas, and increase the risk of chronic disease.

The table below highlights the relationship between lifestyle risk factors and some specific chronic diseases and conditions:

And, if that isn’t enough, there are many other health problems and consequences if you are overweight, including:

Sleep apnoea: A disorder that causes you to pause in breathing or take shallow breaths while you sleep. This occurs when your throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep and block your airways. Sleep apnoea occurs more often in people who are overweight and increases the likelihood of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Hypertension (high blood pressure): A condition that makes the heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Hypertension contributes to the hardening of your arteries and the development of heart failure.

Fatty Liver Disease: Describes a range of conditions caused by an accumulation of fat in the liver and can cause your liver to function abnormally. A common cause of Fatty Liver Disease is obesity.

High cholesterol: Cholesterol is a type of fat. However, if you have too much it starts to build up in your arteries and can harden them. As a result, if you have high cholesterol you have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.

Infertility: Being overweight can lead to hormonal changes that can cause infertility. Infertility is a condition where you are unable to conceive a child.

Impotence: Overweight or obese men have a 30 per cent increased chance of impotence, which means a man is unable to get a good enough erection to have intercourse. Research has found that 8 of 10 men with erectile problems are overweight.

Stress: People who are overweight face an increased risk of psychological problems such as social isolation, depression and difficulty with interpersonal relationships.

So, where to now?

If you have excess body fat you need to get rid of it; if you don’t have it you want to make sure you don’t start getting it – either way, it comes down to lifestyle choices.

#1           Exercise

Get active for at least 30 minutes  five days a week. If 30 minutes at one time is too much break it up into 10-minute segments.

Walk the dog (this may mean buying a dog :); walk at lunchtime; take a walk in the evening – whatever – just walk!

Take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator.

Go talk to people instead of emailing, sending messages, or using the phone – your heart will thank you and so will the people you visit.

Stand up while you talk on the phone

Don’t look for the closest car park at the shopping centre (act like you are driving that very expensive car)

#2           Diet

Shift your food selection to low GI food choices.

Look at the research site for more on the benefits of low GI and get the latest information on their GI blog

Reduce your calorie intake by 300 to 500 calories a day.

#3           Supplementation

Natural, plant based supplements are necessary for a optimally functioning body.

We all need, but very few get, a wide array of nutrients in our diet. Even if we do everything we can to make the best food choices we find that the nutrient value of much that we eat has declined scientifically over the last 50 years.

Science confirms and the majority of doctors and nurses use and recommend supplements.

Remember, as with most things in life, quality costs.

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