13 Reasons Why You Should be Watching Your Waistline

Nutrition

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

You may not know it, but there are 13 reasons why you should be watching your waistline.

Obesity has been linked with at least 13 types of cancer, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. National Cancer Institute.

The 13 cancers are:

According to the report, these 13 cancers account for about 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014.

“A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended – and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers – so these findings are a cause for concern,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.  Dr. Fitzgerald further concluded that by “getting to and keeping a healthy weight, we all can play a role in cancer prevention.”

On the contrary, non-obesity related cancers decreased by 13% between 2005 and 2014.

And even though older people appear to be most at risk, the study showed that younger people are increasingly being diagnosed with these cancers that are related to having an unhealthy weight.

Women really need to be mindful. The research showed 55% of all cancers diagnosed in women and 24% of those diagnosed in men are associated with being overweight and obese.

So how can we be proactive?

The first step is knowing whether you are overweight or obese.

Don’t rely solely on body mass index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) should never be the sole basis for determining whether you are healthy, overweight or obese. BMI is simply your weight (kg) divided by your height (meters) squared.

In the 1800s, a Belgian named Adolphe Quetelet gathered a couple hundred Belgians and weighed and measured them, eventually concluding that the BMI equation was representative of the standard human build. Since then, doctors have applied BMI to individual patients. Male, female, muscular, tall, short -- everyone gets measured the same way. Healthcare providers are sometimes so buried in the medical chart, that they fail to notice someone who they classify as an "obese" patient is actually quite muscular and not fat.

Ditch the scale

Your weight in pounds just doesn’t tell you enough. Looking at how much muscle, fat and water is in those pounds tells you much more about your health. For example, if someone has a very healthy weight but has 40 or 50 percent body fat and low muscle mass, it’s not the weight that needs to change – it’s the body composition!

That person may need to reduce fat and build muscle, and do so in a way that fits their lifestyle and interests, while accounting for factors like age, gender, activity level and underlying health roadblocks.

With the right body composition data, you can determine where you’re carrying muscle and fat. And not all fat is created equal. Research has shown that visceral fat (abdomen and around the organs) tends to be more dangerous for your health than subcutaneous fat (under the skin).

More accurate methods of determining obesity is observing how your clothes fit, how damaged your joints are from supporting excess weight or measuring your waist circumference.

In addition, you can get a more comprehensive body composition test that measures intra-abdominal fat and more.

Understand the role nutrition plays in your health.

it is important to eat a healthy diet and avoid excessive consumption of processed foods and refined sugar. It is also important to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of all your nutrients including water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Nutrient imbalance may lead to weight gain.  

For example, drinking plenty of water may be important for burning fat and may increase your metabolism. One study suggests drinking 500ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%.

Some nutrients may even help with weight management.

  • Magnesium. Studies with rats have shown us that a low magnesium level can slow down growth of lean body mass (muscle and bone building) and promote an increase in body fat. Foods containing magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas.
  • Phosphorus. In a study of almost 40,000 women in Korea, phosphorus deficiency correlated with weight gain from oral contraceptives. Even more exciting is a study from Lebanon showing that phosphorus supplements in a small group (63 people) for 12 weeks significantly decreased body weight, BMI, waist circumference and subjective appetite scores. Dietary sources of phosphorus include salmon, halibut, yogurt, milk, turkey, chicken, beef, lentils, almonds, peanuts, eggs and bread.
  • Iron. There’s a lot of research on the link between obesity and iron deficiency. Basically, excess weight seems related to iron deficiency. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported on a study involving obese and non-obese women who ate a meal “rigged” to test their iron absorption. In overweight and obese women, iron absorption was two-thirds than in normal-weight women. Iron-rich foods include red meat, pork, poultry, seafoods, beans, spinach (and other leafy greens), peas, cherimoyas and iron-fortified cereals.
  • Zinc. A compelling amount of evidence suggests that zinc helps to block the bad effects of obesity in the body. This may be due to zinc’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Foods like lamb, pumpkin seeds, grass fed beef, mushrooms, chickpeas and spinach are rich in zinc.

Finally, one of the important steps to take prior to starting any weight loss program is to be tested for any nutrient imbalances. This will allow you to tailor your diet to exactly what your body needs to function at its best.  

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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