Saturday, 29 April 2017

Waist circumference a better indicator of health than BMI

Waist circumference a better indicator of health than BMI A new study says that the waist circumference, and not body mass index (BMI), is a better indicator of increased risk of death from cardiovascular causes or any cause. In the study, normal weight individuals who had central obesity i.e. higher waist-to-hip ratio were at a 22% higher risk of death from any cause and a 25% higher risk for death from cardiovascular causes compared to these who are obese according to BMI but did not have central fat accumulation. The study jointly conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia and Loughborough University in England has been published April 26, 2017 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The body mass index is the most commonly used measure of obesity, which is based on height and weight of a person. It is calculated as weight (in kg) divided by the height squared (in cm). But, it does not measure body fat. The correct method to measure obesity is to measure body fat, especially the fat around the abdomen. A high waist-to-hip ratio indicates high amounts of abdominal fat. A person can be obese even if the body weight is within the normal range. This is called normal weight obesity, where the BMI is normal as per the age and height, but the body fat percentage is high. Typically, such individuals have a potbelly but otherwise look normal. Abdominal obesity is more dangerous than generalized obesity. Abdominal girth or waist circumference of more than 90 cm in men and 80 cm in women indicates that the person is at a higher risk of future heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol (high TGs and low HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) and metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle changes should be instituted immediately to ward off these chronic but potentially life-threatening diseases. Any weight gain after puberty is invariably due to fat as most organs also stop growing, once the height stops increasing. One should not gain weight of more than 5 kg after the age of 20 years in males and 18 years in females. And, after the age of 50, the weight should reduce and not increase. Potbelly obesity is linked to eating refined carbohydrates and not animal fats. General obesity is linked to eating animal fats. Refined carbohydrate includes white rice, white maida and white sugar. Brown sugar is better than white sugar. Some tips to reduce obesity • Skip carbohydrates once in a week. • Combine a sweet food with bitter food. • Include more green bitter items in foods. • Do not eat trans fats. • Do not consume more than 80 ml of soft drink in a day. • Do not consume sweets with more than 30% sugar. • Avoid maida, rice and white sugar. • Eat in moderation. • Walk, walk and walk… Remember, longer the waist line… shorter the lifeline… (Source: University of Sydney News, April 26, 2017) Dr KK Aggarwal National President IMA & HCFI

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