Obesity is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. It is a major contributor to chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke, particularly when obesity manifests itself as fat around the abdominal area.
While obesity can be measured in a variety of ways, measuring your waist circumference is a good guide. Lower thresholds for waist circumference have been recommended for Asian populations by the World Health Organization due to recent research findings. Therefore, those at increased risk for developing chronic disease include:
- Asian women with a waist circumference of more than 31 inches/78.7cm.
- Asian men with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches/88.9cm.
There are many ways in which obesity and chronic diseases are linked. Ultimately, eating too much food or the wrong types of food, and leading a sedentary lifestyle is a deadly combination. When you eat food, it is either metabolized by the body through exercise or stored as fat.
Obesity and Chronic Disease: Dangerous Love Handles
If you eat an excess of food (more than your body can burn off), then it is more often than not stored as fat. Fat around the abdominal area is considered to be dangerous fat, especially when it sits in and around the abdominal muscles of this area; it is called visceral fat. Visceral fat drains into blood vessels that lead to the heart, and surrounds vital organs. This can cause cardiovascular disease, and may lead to heart attack or stroke.
Wrong Fats Cause Obesity and Then Disease
Obesity also tends to be associated with eating the wrong types of fats. Fats that are considered “wrong fats” are those that are saturated fats (like those found in ghee, butter, cream, and fried food) and trans fats, found in deep fried food. These fats are generally associated with foods that are packed with calories, thereby contributing to weight gain and chronic diseases that follows.
Obesity Raises Cholestrol
These fats are also instrumental in raising cholesterol in the blood stream. This cholesterol is stored in the vital blood vessels leading to the heart, blocking blood flow, which can result in heart attack or stroke.
Obesity Instigates Diabetes
Another chronic disease that may be caused by obesity is Type II diabetes. When the human body has too much fat in its reserves, it decreases the storage of sugars. This in turn can trigger Type II diabetes, which would otherwise be a preventable disease.
Obesity is one of the more controllable risk indicators for chronic diseases. By eating better, eating smaller portions and exercising more often, one can reduce their level of obesity and their chance of contracting a chronic disease.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
*Text Courtesy: Shane Bilsborough, international nutrition and exercise expert and the Co-Founder and COO of Stepathlon Lifestyle Pvt Ltd. Shane is also the author of three international best-sellers on nutrition and fitness.
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