Friday, January 4, 2008

Excess weight – The upcoming health hazard

Excess weight – The upcoming health hazard

“Why this happens with me”, sighed Suzan, 19 year old teen. Coming up was the most happening party; suzan knew this was the right occasion to impress her long time crush. She wanted to wear her favorite dress that had attracted loads of compliments last month. She tried the outfit, but the jeans refuse to reach her waist. REASON – Increase in the waistline.

AT this moment you observe the extra flab, extra weight in your body. You curse the afternoon fried chicken you relished just 5 hours ago.

It’s high time; we realize the problem of excess weight that is confronting more and more people in the prosperous communities. Deviations of the body weight beyond certain limits from the normal not only affect your appearances but also predisposes to many other disorders.

According to the World Health Organization, there are currently 1.6 billion overweight adults in the world. That number is projected to grow by 40% over the next 10 years. In clinical terms when a person is 20% or more above the ideal body weight it is considered to be overweight.
In relation to body weight and health, it is important to know the body composition i.e. The body fat for a normal adult man is 12% of the total body weight and for woman is 26%.Accordingly, obesity occurs when the percentage of body fat in total body weight is more than 20% in men and more than 30% in women.

Mortality vs. Excess body weight
The relation of mortality and body weight is very close. i.e. the mortality increases as the body weight increases. Excess body weight can lead to many psychological and physiological problems like:

Overweight people often feel neglected, humiliated and unhappy. They suffer from inferiority complex.
 Excess body weight can cause flat feet and arthritis leading to pain in the hips, knees and spine.
 Regular movements of obese people become slow and difficult thus making them more prone to accidents.
 Adipose tissue in the chest and under the diaphragm interferes with normal respiration and predisposes to bronchitis. In short, it prevents you from being active.
 Excess weight can also cause high blood pressure and many other cardiac problems like heart attack or stroke.

Tips for Weight Loss

Hydrate your body
. Drink at least 10 – 12 glasses of water everyday. Start your morning with a glass of lukewarm water.
Increase fiber in your meals
. Include variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Having a bowl of salad before your dinner should be a mandatory practice. Always ask for green salad to be brought to the table before the main course. This will keep you nibbling and fill your stomach while you wait for your order.
Eat at regular intervals
. Have at least 5 meals a day in which three can be the main meals i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner, while other two meals can consist of foods which are handy and nutritious at the same time. Eating frequently prevents hunger pangs, provides consistent energy, and maintains the metabolism efficiency.
Early and light dinners
. Have your dinner at least three hours before you go to sleep. This is because your metabolic activity slows down by the end of the day.
Always watch out for hidden fats
. Creamy soups, white breads, flaky pastries and mayonnaise – based salad dressings add unnecessary fats to the food. Try consuming broths instead of creamy soups. Remember, a gram of fat contains more than twice as many calories as a gram of protein or carbohydrate. Ask for grilled, baked, boiled or broiled food rather fried foods.
Overcome your cravings
. People having sweet tooth should try to substitute sweet with a fruit. Drink a glass of water after your meal sending an indication that the meal is over and thus overcome your sweet craving. Distract yourself or keep yourself occupied - call a friend, hear music or dance, the craving will come and go without you realizing it.
Avoid salt preserved foods
. Excess Salt can cause water retention and hyperthyroidism thus causing a hike in body weight. Avoid foods like pickles, sauces, papad and canned foods.
Avoid alcoholic and carbonated beverages
. Pure alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram, which makes it nearly twice as fattening as carbohydrates or protein (both contain about 4 calories per gram) and only just under the caloric value for fat (9 calories per gram). This means that if you want to lose weight and reduce excess body fat, alcohol is not a good choice. Regular beer has 13 grams of carbs and 150 calories.
Be active
. Participate in your child’s activities at the park. Create opportunities to burn those extra calories like climb stairs, park your car far from office and walk the distance, wash your car whenever possible.
Exercise 30 – 40 mins everyday
. Adopt a regular exercise routine. Regular exercise can give you lot of benefits. It can help prevent you from becoming overweight and aid in shedding off those excess pounds, thus keeping your heart and blood vessels in top condition. However, it is always better to check with your doctor before you start any kind of exercise program. Regularly change in your activity schedule helps to avoid boredom. Jog for couple of days, play squash, hit the gym or go for a swim the other day. Always keep looking out for new activities.
Weigh yourself regularly
. Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working and can help you detect small weight gains before they become even larger. Checking your weight in the morning empty stomach will help you to know your exact body weight.