Staying Healthy and Living It: More than Diet and Exercise

It is common knowledge that diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer are the leading causes of death in the 21st century.  In a 2003 data in the United States alone, heart disease ranks the first leading cause of death followed by cancer, stroke, accidents and diabetes.

Over the years, scientists have been looking for answers on what the modern lifestyle has to do with the prevalence of the said diseases.  Research has shown that those living in highly-urbanized countries were more susceptible to acquiring these diseases than the indigenous peoples elsewhere in the world whose diet consists mainly of greens and whose living is far less complex and stress-free.

Noticeably, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes (whether hereditary or not) are greatly triggered by the type of food and lifestyle most people in Western societies have.  Foods that are high in fat, although they taste better, will take a toll on one’s health later on in life if not right away. Try to assess your daily diet in particular.  Unless you’ve become conscious about your health, you probably have been consuming fried, preserved, and fast foods.  Do you remember the last time you had five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day?  If so, then lucky you, because the bulk of the diet in the West is a far cry from what experts call natural and nutritious.

However, don’t feel upset about this reality.  You can be in control of your life in order to prevent acquiring and dying from the leading diseases by changing your lifestyle and diet to improve not only your physical, but emotional well-being as well.

Cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes can be prevented with a combination of diet, exercise, and the right attitude.  The guide to living a healthy lifestyle is not coined on how drastic you want the changes to happen but it is based on a gradual process.


Weight Management

Putting on too much weight (overweight or obese) poses a problem for you, but being too thin for your build (or underweight) is just as risky.  The weight of a person says so much about his/her body.  Obesity has its complicating consequences and increases the risks of having and dying from heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes.

Being obese means you’re consuming too much than your body needs, hence, it stores them in different parts of your body including in fatty tissues, blood, liver, etc.  Over time, your body will react to the build up of substances, which would cause it to become upset and overridden.

Basic Mass Index

One tool to help you determine whether you are on your ideal weight is the Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator.  The BMI helps evaluate your weight and assists doctors in determining the ideal weight for you vis-à-vis your height, lays out plans and how to accomplish them.

BMI is not intended for pregnant and nursing women as well as children below the age 18.  A healthy BMI is between 18.5 kg/m2 to 25 kg/m2.  Anywhere below that is considered underweight, while a BMI between 25 kg/m2 and 30 kg/m2 is overweight.  If your BMI is 30 kg/m2 or higher, then you are considered obese, and extreme obesity is a BMI above 40 kg/m2.

A Diet and Health Study by the NIH-AARP in 1995-96, conducted on 527,265 male and female participants aged 50-71 years old at enrolment, and whose BMI were obtained, concluded that people in their midlife with excess body weight face an increased risk of death sooner whether their issue is obesity or simply overweight

The study, which spanned 10 years with close monitoring of the participants, gave this result: 61,317 of the participants (42,173 men and 19,144 women) died, and experts came up with the analysis that the risk of death increased for both men and women (in all ages) in the highest and lowest BMI categories, regardless of racial group and ethnicity.

Waist circumference

Another tool doctors and dieticians use to evaluate a person’s weight is through waist circumference.  This tool is especially helpful for people whose BMI is classified as overweight.  Extra fats around the waist and a BMI above 25 are predictors of impending health problems.  Doctor’s obtain this information in order to predict the serious health problems associated with obesity.  Experts say a pear-shaped silhouette is better than having an apple-shaped silhouette.  And this would still hold true even if your BMI is within the normal range.

The correct measurement of your waist is to measure it just above your hipbones.  The greater your waist measurement, the greater your health risks.  Women whose waistline is above 35 inches and 40 inches for men, face an increased risk for health problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol level in blood, hypertension, and heart disease.

Try to seek the help of a medical practitioner if you are overweight or obese, as indicated in your BMI.  Your doctor can help you design a fitness plan that is realistic in your situation. cont …