Most people understand that extra weight is a health problem. Usually heart problems or diabetes are the reason we think this. But new research points out other issues with obesity that make it more important than ever to watch our weight.
The first study, done Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, gathered data for six years about the size of malignant cancer tumors related to the weight of the patient. This is important since the larger the tumor, the more aggressive the cancer.
The standard of measurement used in the study was the Body Mass Index (BMI), commonly used to assess obesity. They measured results of 3,327 patients with surgically removed prostate cancers.
In every case without exception, there was a direct relationship between the patient’s weight and the size of the tumor. In other words, the more overweight someone was, the more aggressive the cancer.
In a second, unrelated study done at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, researchers found a connection between extra weight and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome marked by whole body pain, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings and headaches.
This study, published in the May, 2010 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, found that women who were overweight had a 60 to 70% increased likelihood of coming down with the disease. If they also didn’t exercise, the likelihood was even greater.
Researchers also found that increasing frequency of exercise (4 or more times a week) reduced the chance of someone getting fibromyalgia.
These two studies add to the reasons extra weight isn’t good for us. However they don’t really address the underlying reasons that create the weight in the first place. In fact, nobody has a rock solid understanding of what creates cancer or fibromyalgia.
The reason for this gap in understanding is simple – it’s not possible using reductionist science to assess the hugely complex biochemical interactions in the body. You can’t understand the 50,000 things going on in the body by measuring just one variable.
Fortunately, we do know that there are changes that will improve just about anyone’s quality of life. And as it turns out, these changes also help protect us from annoying and even life-threatening illnesses. Here is the list of factors that we know do both:
- Exercise – even relatively mild exercise like walking, done on a regular basis, can make a major difference in energy level, stress relief and mental health
- Eating Whole, Natural Foods – the closer a food is to it’s natural state, the more our bodies benefit from eating it. And since food is the basis for most of the biochemical reactions in the body, the more natural a food is, the better.
- Stress Relief – whether at home or the office, stress makes major changes in our bodies that affect how well we function. Over time, it also affects our quality of life at multiple levels, including reduced immune system responses and decreased energy. That means that recreation (re-creation) activities are important. In other words, do things that are fun!
We could also add other things to this list. Personal fulfillment, job satisfaction, creative activity, sufficient sleep, etc. are all important.
Note on eating the right foods: If you listen to your body, you’ll know what foods are best to eat. If you are looking for a shortcut to discovering the right foods for you, the best way to find that out is with Metabolic TypingÃ‚Â®.Ã‚Â Contact me by clicking here if you’d like to learn more.