Do you need a GUT CHECK?

Your risk for diabetes and cardiac diseases may be found front and center? Doing some measurements may help predict if you are at high risk. A commonly used measurement called Body mass index (BMI) is an indicator of obesity, but a new study suggests it may not be the best predictor of your weight raising your risk of death.

Waist circumference is a measure used to determine the amount of belly fat a person has. Abdominal fat has been linked to a number of health conditions, including high cholesterol, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. A large amount of belly fat, significantly increased the risk of premature death. A high BMI also predicted the risk of an early death, but to a lesser degree.

A high-risk waist circumference is:

• A man with waist measurement over 40 inches (102 cm).
• A woman with waist measurement over 35 inches (88 cm).

Studies show that moderate weight loss- as little as 5-15% of initial body weight – can reduce intra-abdominal fat or viseral fat by 10% to 30%. For a given amount of weight loss, according to the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk (ICCR), exercise burns more intra-abdominal fat than cutting calories, while preserving lean body mass.
The ICCR offers a website, http://www.myhealthywaist.org/ with a section for both medical professionals and consumers that includes educational videos and waist circumference measurement guidelines.

Peter Libby, chief of the cardiovascular medicine division at Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston and a professor at Harvard Medical School, blames food and beverage producers for marketing unhealthy foods and sugary beverages, and physicians for not doing enough to goad their patients onto diets and exercise. He goes on to say that consumers have to take responsibility and not rely on weight loss remedies or supplements to knock off pounds and get the right nutrients.

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