A fifth of UK population is on a diet at any one time, yet over the last 40 years the size of us is steadily rising. The average male and female Briton now has a 38-inch and 34-inch waist respectively but they are expanding, on average, by an inch every decade.
According the NHS choices website you are at very high risk and you should seek professional help if your waist is:
• 102cm (40ins) or more for men
• 88cm (34ins) or more for women
As the number of obese people in the world grows exponentially, the advice people have been given by their governments has proved poor, to downright wrong. There are a number of reasons for this, a mixture of bad science and wilful obfuscation.
However, although there are many mountains to climb yet in our understanding of nutrition, and why we are getting so much bigger, especially around the waist where it does most harm, it seems clear that, while our genes have a major part to play in our health and disease, the rapid expansion of our waistlines cannot be due to our genes, they cannot change that fast.
In the coming months we will be looking at what we can do to change this even if our governments are too lazy or too tied to big food and big agriculture to do much to help us.
But first here is a question. Which is the best transport invention, The Concorde supersonic aircraft or the bicycle? Well of course it depends. If you want to get to New York really fast the former used to be your best bet, but if you want the most cost-effective machine to transport you anywhere (not across the Atlantic of course), then the bicycle is far more efficient at turning energy into movement even if it does it less spectacularly! So too with other machines. There are all sorts of wonderful, expensive, fancy machines to look into your body but perhaps one of the most cost-effective devises to help you step towards long-term health and longevity is this.
At a cost of a stiff drink, which we may well need after the measurement, this useful measure can show you both your BMI and where you stand in the area of a healthy waist measurement. The added beauty of this little measure tape is that it colour codes in traffic light red, for men that is above 102cm, women above 78cm, amber men, 94-102cm, women 80-88cm, and green, 69-94cm and women 60-78cm. Is approximately where we should be in our waist measurements.
While your BMI, crude as it is, is mostly, a useful guide to how you are doing, the waist circumference measurement can more accurately identify if visceral fat, which is stored in the high-risk intra-abdominal region where it is sending out hormonal signals to keep your body inflamed, is a problem for you. Once you have your waist measurement, itself a remarkably simple, but accurate, indicator for health and longevity, you can go one step further and add your hip measurement. More of that next time. In a meta-analysis of waist circumference WC and Waist to Hip Ratio WHR The European Heart Journal found that;
“Abdominal obesity as measured by WC and WHR is significantly associated with the risk of incident CVD events. A 1 cm increase in WC is associated with a 2% increase in risk of future CVD and a 0.01 increase in WHR is associated with a 5% increase in risk. These simple measures of abdominal obesity should be incorporated in CVD risk assessments”.
So don’t take these measurements yet if it is just going to make you miserable and not motivate you to change your lifestyle, but do if you are keen and ready to move to a plant-based diet, rich in healthy phyto-nutrients, along with a plan to move and strengthen your body in the future.
In the coming months we will be looking at the evidence as to what you can do to lose those extra inches/centimetres, why it is so much more difficult than medicine used to think and help you form a plan to lose that spare tire and move away from the increased risks to Heart disease, diabetes and dementia, amongst other things.
Why wait to be a burden on our underfunded, creaking National Health Service when you can take back control of your own body and life?
If you want help and evidence-based guidance, to take control of your body & health, why not make an appointment to see us and we can help you form a plan that in time is most likely to work.