Study Challenges ‘Healthy But Obese’ Theory

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Being overweight or obese does pose a risk of heart disease, despite claims to the contrary, a study of nearly 300,000 British adults suggested Friday.

While it is generally accepted that being overweight increases a person’s disease risk, some researchers have recently suggested that carrying extra weight does not actually boost death rates for some, particularly the elderly.

A number have even suggested that being overweight may protect against disease, a claim dubbed the “obesity paradox.”
But the latest study, published in the European Heart Journal, said there is no paradox.

It looked at 296,535 people aged 40-69 who enrolled in an ongoing health study in the United Kingdom between 2006 and 2010.

For the latest analysis, data on the participants — all of “white European descent” — was available until 2015.
All were healthy when they first enrolled.

The researchers noted the participants’ Body Mass Index (BMI) — a ratio of weight-to-height squared used to determine whether a person falls in a healthy weight range.

They then tracked who went on to develop CVD — which includes heart attack, stroke or high blood pressure.

The World Health Organization considers someone with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 as overweight, and 30 kg/m2 or higher as obese.

The research team found that CVD risk increased beyond a BMI of 22-23 kg/m2.

“Furthermore, the risk also increases steadily the more fat a person carries around their waist,” said a press statement summarising the findings.

People with a BMI of 22-23 kg/m2 had the lowest CVD risk, the study found.

“As BMI increased above 22kg/m2, the risk of CVD increased by 13 percent for every 5.2 kg/m2 increase in women and 4.3 kg/m2 in men.”

The findings presented a direct challenge to the obesity paradox.

“Any public misconception of a potential ‘protective’ effect of fat on heart and stroke risks should be challenged,”
said study co-author Stamatina Iliodromiti from the University of Glasgow.

It is possible that the effect would be different for people with pre-existing disease, the authors said.

But for healthy people, maintaining a BMI of 22-23 kg/m2 appeared to minimise the risk of developing or dying from heart disease.

“The less fat, especially around their abdomen, the lower the risk of future heart disease,” the authors concluded.

An American study published by the journal JAMA Cardiology last month, similarly found that overweight and obesity were associated with “significantly increased risk for CVD”.

What You Should Know About Exercise

ExerciseConsistent physical exercise, extends far beyond weight management and is believed to be one of the most important things one can do for good health, particularly in the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

Going by figures from the World Health Organization (W.H.O), 24 per cent of deaths in Nigeria occur, owing to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

Research shows that regular physical activity can help reduce your risk for several diseases and health conditions and improve your overall quality of life.

Although such information seems rather cliché, it is necessary to re-iterate the importance of exercise as well as other lifestyle changes that can be imbibed for sustainable health.

According to fitness trainer, Jane Amuta, “fitness is a lifestyle, its not something that you touch one day and you leave it because these benefits come over time with consistency.

“I always marry fitness with diet because you need to feed this body with the right things to be able to function properly.”

Benefits Of Exercise

Heart Disease and Stroke: Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.

High Blood Pressure: Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity reduces body fat, which is associated with high blood pressure.

Obesity: Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.

Back Pain: By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.

Osteoporosis: Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

Self Esteem And Stress Management: Researchers have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and in ultimately, improve one’s self-image as well as help you to better manage stress.

Heart Disease: Medical Experts Harp On Regular Checkups To Avoid Risk

heart diseaseMedical experts have urged all Nigerians especially from age 50 and below to ensure they take the stress test exercise in order to ascertain any likelihood of the Coronary Artery Disease or Ischemic Heart Disease commonly known as heart attack.

According to the experts, the test will reveal if blood supply to the heart is enough. The test will also show the changes in the electrocardiogram (ECG) of the heart.

The exercise stress test, as opined by the medical experts, will determine the amount of stress the heart can manage as well as the amount of oxygen the heart muscle can generate.

Key Symptoms

They described Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) as an epidemic that is capable of shortening a life span if proper attention and adequate awareness was not given to it.

The experts further disclosed that apart from the risk factor like smoking, poor diet, family history, excessive alcohol, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol as root cause of the disease, constant chest pain, irregular heartbeat, emotional stress and shortness of breath are other key symptoms of ischemic heart disease.

According to the World Health Organization, CAD or Ischemic Heart Disease (ISH) commonly referred to as heart attack was the most common cause of death globally in 2013, resulting in 8.14 million deaths and 16.8 per cent up from 5.74 million deaths and 12 per cent in the early 90s.

Medical experts say some causes of the cardiovascular disease occur due to blockage of the blood vessel to the heart which often times cause chest pain and other complications in the heart resulting to a heart attack.

It was further disclosed that CAD is rampant in this part of the world because people over stress themselves and fail to exercise their body, rest or go for regular medical checkup.

Prevent The Disease

While advising people to take precautions and proper medical advice on this disease, the medical experts said exercise stress test is a key test that should be done in order to ascertain the likelihood of having a coronary artery disease.

To prevent the disease, they opined that awareness should increase and medical personnel should be more proactive with their patients while also urging that people should ensure they eat healthy and proper diet, exercise regularly, maintain healthy weight, stop smoking, treat hypertension and decrease cholesterol level.

In case of severe complications, cardiovascular surgery or open heart surgery is the way out, the experts stressed.

With the rate at which the coronary artery disease kills people in recent times especially prominent Nigerians like the two former super eagles coaches and many more, it is advisable to take precautions.

it is also necessary to take time out and go for medical checkups especially the exercise stress test to ascertain any likelihood of the coronary artery disease and also stay away from risk factors that might cause the disease.

NMA Stages National Campaign Against Obesity

NMA, ObesityThe Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says it has led a national campaign against obesity and other forms of unhealthy lifestyles for healthy living.

The Chairperson of the FCT branch of the NMA, Fatima Mairami, disclosed this during a road walk in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

She said that obesity and other forms of unhealthy lifestyles had claimed lives of professionals and non-professionals alike.

According to the medic, the campaign was targeted at creating public awareness on the need to engage in regular exercise and live a healthy lifestyle as one way to prevent the diseases.

Dish Size, Meal Frequency May Affect Kids’ Weight

Shrinking the size of kids’ plates and bowls and encouraging them to eat more frequently throughout the day might help them eat less and keep off extra weight, new research suggests.

In one study, researchers found first graders served themselves smaller portions when using miniaturized dishware – and ate less food when they had less on their plate.

Another review of past research found kids and teens who ate most often during the day were 22 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the fewest meals and snacks.

Jennifer Fisher, who worked on the dish-size study, said it was preliminary but could still inform parent choices.

“For now, certainly it seems like something parents can easily incorporate into their daily lives without a lot of work and effort,” Fisher, from Temple University in Philadelphia, told Reuters Health.

She and her colleagues studied 42 elementary school kids who were given the chance to serve themselves lunch. On four days the kids used child-sized plates and bowls; on another four they used adult-sized dishware, which was twice as large.

First graders served themselves an average of 300 to 500 calories worth of the lunch entrée – pasta or chicken nuggets – each day.

When they used adult dishware, the kids took an average of 90 more calories of food, the researchers found. And kids who ended up with more food on their plates also tended to eat more, Fisher’s team wrote Monday in Pediatrics.

“It doesn’t appear that simply because you might have large dishware at home, your child is going to overeat,” said Fisher – because it depends on who’s doing the serving and how much is served.

But, she added, “If more food appears on the plate, they’re going to eat more.”

“The results are very interesting and confirm our expectations that the impact of plate size on adults in the laboratory also apply to children,” Dr. Thomas Robinson, a childhood obesity researcher at Stanford University in California, told Reuters Health in an email.

“This study provides very important preliminary evidence that using smaller dishware may help reduce children’s energy intakes.”

For their own analysis, researchers from Harokopio University in Athens, Greece, looked at 11 studies, mostly conducted in the Mediterranean, that compared eating frequency and weight in close to 19,000 kids and teens.

The overall pattern showed that youth who ate most often – typically at least four or five times per day – were least likely to be overweight or obese. However when they looked closer, the researchers found that link only held up in boys.

Robinson, who was not involved in the new research, said it’s hard to tell which came first in those studies: eating frequency or extra weight.

The results “do not look very convincing one way or another,” he said. “It is also hard to come up with a convincing reason why boys and girls would be different.”

The researchers said their findings don’t prove that a given child will lose weight by eating more often. But schools, for example, may be able to make a difference by integrating smaller, more frequent meals into the day.

“Instead of providing three big meals per day, it would be better (for parents) to have their children eating smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day,” co-author Mary Yannakoulia told Reuters Health in an email.

However, she added, parents still need to pay attention to the quality of those snacks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of kids and teens in the U.S. are obese – a proportion that has almost tripled since 1980.

“We know that it’s so complex that there’s absolutely not one cause or solution,” Fisher said.

A third study also published this week in Pediatrics found teens who spent more time focused on the TV were heavier than their peers. However, time spent playing video games or on the computer was not tied to weight.

Severe obesity common amongst Americans – study

The proportion of Americans who are severely obese (severely Obese are those people that are 100 pounds or more overweight) continues to increase rapidly and much faster than those with moderate obesity, but study shows that the rate of growth has slowed.

The RAND study found that from 2000 to 2010, the proportion of Americans who were severely obese rose from 3.9% of the population to 6.6% — an increase of about 70%.

The findings mean that more than 15 million adult Americans are morbidly obese with a body mass index of 40 or more. The good news is that beginning in 2005, the near-exponential growth of the severely obese group began to flatten out.

“The proportion of people at the high end of the weight scale continues to increase faster than any other group of obese people, despite increased public attention on the risks of obesity,” said Roland Sturm, lead author of the report and a senior economist at RAND, a non-profit research organization. “But for the first time in the past 20 years there is evidence the trend is slowing.”

The study suggests that clinically severe obesity, instead of being a rare pathological condition among genetically vulnerable individuals, is an integral part of the population’s weight distribution. As the whole population becomes heavier, the extreme category — the severely obese — increases the fastest.

The findings were published online by the International Journal of Obesity.

The trend of severe obesity varies by gender and ethnicity, although the trend remained upward among all groups. The prevalence of severe obesity was about 50% higher among women than among men, and about twice as high among blacks when compared to Hispanics or whites. For all levels of obesity, the increases over time were faster among age groups younger than 40.

To be classified as severely obese, a person must have a body mass index (a ratio of weight to height) of 40 or higher — roughly 100 pounds or more overweight for an average adult man. The typical severely obese man weighs 300 pounds at a height of 5 feet 10 inches tall, while the typical severely obese woman weighs 250 pounds at a height of 5 feet 4 inches.

People with a BMI of 25 to 29 are considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or more classifies a person as being obese. For a 5-foot-10 inch male, a BMI of 30 translates into being 35 pounds too heavy.

The body mass index allows researchers to define obesity and severe obesity over a population of people with varied heights and weights. The index is defined as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. The standard cut-off point for obesity is a body mass index of 30 or more, corresponding to a person 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 174 pounds, or 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 209 pounds or more.

Fattest cat in the world dies of Obesity

A CAT that got international attention for tipping the scales at almost 18 kilograms is dead.

The world’s fattest cat whose name is Meow dies as a result of Pulmonary Failure and weight complications.

Meow, who was two-years-old, was taken to the shelter last month after his 87-year-old owner could no longer take care of him.

The cat who weighed over 39 pounds was put on a special diet by the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, and had started doing well when they realized he was having breathing problems.

According to the Shelters veterinarian, Meow was gradually losing weight by eating a special diet but his symptoms worsened and he died.

Before Meow’s death he was the fattest cat in the world according to the Guinness book of Record.