Gone are the days when the potbelly was seen as the symbol of an individual’s prosperity. On the contrary, it augurs great fortune and wealth for the health care industry. The availability of food delivered at your doorstep, round-the-clock, doesn’t help.
Sedentary lifestyles and erratic sleep hours have made food not a source of nourishment, but of entertainment, or a boredom-buster, an emotional anchor and more importantly, a reliable source of comfort for the lonely soul. Foods that meet these needs are rarely healthy. Unused energy is locked up in the fat cells especially around the waist. Intra-abdominal fat (also referred as visceral fat) conveys a very big health risk.
There are 2 patterns to body fat distribution:
1. Android or Central Obesity is more common in men and post-menopausal women. Body fat in this case is dispersed in the trunk, upper chest and abdomen giving the typical apple shape. It is associated with health risks.
2. Peripheral or Gynoid Obesity has lower health risks as the body fat is distributed mainly on the lower trunk, hips and thighs giving the typical pear shape. More women than men have gynoid pattern of obesity.
Quick test: Measure yourself around the waist.
Waist circumference is a practical indicator of abdominal fat. Consider the red flag raised if you fall into either of these categories; (Waist circumference cut-offs given by WHO for Asian population).
Women : > 80 cm (31 inches)
Men : > 90 cm (35.5 inches)
How do we interpret these figures? There is enough evidence to link large abdominal girths with a plethora of health problems. They range from high blood pressure, acid reflux, sleep apnea, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, PCOD in women, erectile dysfunction in men, type 2 diabetes, high fasting glucose levels, high triglyceride levels to heart disease and metabolic syndrome. The expanding waistline therefore can no longer be ignored.
Correct nutrition is the surefire and fail-safe way to managing life style disorders and waist thickness. When combined with exercise, they are key factors to preventing chronic disease and delaying the aging process. Today is the best chance to take the first step and change for the better!
Sr. Faculty & Sr. Fitness Counsellor