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Posts Tagged ‘BMI’

We have known for a long time that overweight or obese individuals, especially those who are apple shaped, are more prone to certain disease conditions and higher mortality rates. A recent study, however, says that scales may not present the entire picture when it comes to susceptibility to certain illnesses and lifespan. Waistlines and body shape may be as important or more so than actual weight.

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Using the BMI chart as a standard and waist circumference as the indicator, researchers studied medical records of 156,000 postmenopausal women. Those with waistlines above 35 inches were categorized as having central obesity even when their weight was within normal range. Researchers found that women who were overweight or obese but did not have central obesity had a slightly reduced incidence of all-cause mortality. They referred to the phenomenon of too much weight with smaller waist circumference and normal weight women with a large waist circumference as the “obesity paradox.”  Does that affect health?

The study noted that central obesity presents risk factors for cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, namely breast and colon. Overall results may or may not apply to men and younger women. Nor is it known what role other factors may play since age influences hormonal changes and lowered metabolisms that affect weight.

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The journal of Neurology1 reported other negative health findings for those with large waistlines and higher BMIs. With an average age of sixty-four,1,289 participants underwent MRI brain scans to measure thinning of the brain cortex which has been associated with dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease. Obese subjects younger than sixty-five had greater reduction in gray matter in the brain. Over a period of approximately six years, researchers found that as BMI scores increased, scans showed more thinning in the cortex―the area of the brain which causes loss of old memories. Dr. Tatjana Rundek, a co-author of the study, stated that “results would indicate that being overweight or obese may accelerate aging in the brain by at least a decade.”

While too much weight isn’t a positive aspect on health as we age, it not only affects physical well-being but brain functions as well. Remember these effects, if you can, the next time you eye that glazed doughnut or tempting dessert.

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  1. 1Michelle R. Caunca, Hannah Gardener, Marialaura Simonetto, Ying Kuen Cheung, Noam Alperin, Mitsuhiro Yoshita, Charles DeCarli, Mitchell S.V. Elkind, Ralph L. Sacco, Clinton B. Wright, Tatjana Rundek. Measures of obesity are associated with MRI markers of brain aging The Northern Manhattan StudyNeurology, 2019 DOI: 1212/WNL.0000000000007966

 

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You’ve heard the statistics. More and more Americans march (or eat) toward the realm of overweight and obesity. Countless reasons cause excessive weight—overindulgence, too many fast-foods, gobs of fried, sugar-laden delights, and more. The Body Mass Index (BMI) scale serves as one guide to show us where we rank from underweight to obesity.

Do you believe you weigh too much, or do you think you’re about the right size? A Gallup poll, conducted annually, tracks how Americans classify their weight. In 2011, surveyors calculated the BMI of more than 1,000 people based on self-reported height and weight. Nearly sixty-two percent were either overweight or obese. However, most (sixty percent of men and more than half of the women) thought their weight was about right. For both men and women, actual body weight was about twenty pounds more than the BMI ideal. Additionally, perceived ideal body weight climbed to about ten pounds more than two decades past.

The average woman today weighs twenty-two pounds more than her ideal weight compared to thirteen pounds twenty years ago. In 1991, the average man weighed nine pounds more than his ideal body weight compared to fifteen pounds in 2011. The Gallup poll indicated that Americans are getting more overweight and don’t even recognize it.

Even those of us who register a normal weight on the BMI charts may actually be obese. The threshold of percent body weight for obesity is twenty-five for men and thirty for women. Records for BMI and body fat scores of more than 1,300 people found that nearly two-fifths had appropriate weight based on the BMI scale but were obese according to fat scores. The discrepancy may have resulted from the aging process, especially in women, and greater loss of muscle tissue due to lack of exercise.

Are you sure about your ideal weight? How does thinking and actual weight compare with twenty years ago? Perceptions tend to cloud reality as added flesh becomes more acceptable. And now, we can’t even rely on our scales. That should joggle our brains. The best indicator of healthy weight probably is body fat—and few know that percentage. Two things we do know and don’t want to confess. We may not be as small as we like to think.  And we’re reluctant to exercise to help keep those extra calories from turning into blubber.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/150947/Self-0Reported-Weight-Nearly-Pounds-1990.aspx

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17585734?

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