Did you know: Sitting most of the day may lead to an early grave?

 Ai yi yiiiiii.  We spent the majority of our lives as “professional sitter-downers”.  As psychotherapists the only thing we were really concerned about was being sued, stalked or otherwise putting our licenses in jeopardy. Little did we know sitting and listening to people might have led to our early demise.

“Adults who are inactive much of the day may be more likely to die prematurely than people who don’t sit around a lot, regardless of their exercise habits, a U.S. study suggests.”

(Reuters Health)

People may also be less likely to die young if they break up sedentary time by moving around every half hour than if they remain seated for longer stretches of time without getting up, the study also suggests.

For the study, researchers examined data on 7,985 adults, age 45 and older, who were asked to wear accelerometers to measure activity levels for one week.

“We think these findings suggest that it is simply not enough to be active or move at just one specific time of the day, that is, exercise,” said lead author Keith Diaz of the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

“We need to be mindful of moving frequently throughout the day in addition to exercising,” Diaz said.

“Persons with uninterrupted sedentary bouts of 30 minutes or more had the highest risk for death if total sedentary time also exceeded 12.5 hours per day,” noted Alter. “Conversely, in those whose daily sedentary volumes were low, uninterrupted bout lengths had little if any associated effects on mortality.”

“It’s possible that prolonged sedentary stretches might hasten death by causing what’s known as metabolic toxicity, said Dr. David Alter, head of cardiovascular and metabolic research for the University Health Network-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute in Canada.”

“The lack of activity in our muscles affects our ability to metabolize our sugars efficiently,” Alter, author of an accompanying editorial, said by email. “Over time, our body accumulates excess fat, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and death.”

From now on this blog will be written, illustrated and edited in a standing position . . . the good news is that we didn’t die young.

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What is “Over Fat” . . . like me?

I’m writing this post to give myself and my brother Rick (you too, if it fits) more motivation.

A year ago Rick and I made a pact.  Whoever lost 20 pounds first got to choose who visited whom. (He lives in Denver, I live in Southern California).  The first year we did really well, albeit falling short of our 20 pound goal.  The beginning of the second year we both gained back the weight we’d lost the first year . . .

We have very different approaches.  He weighs once a week and I obsesssssively stand on the scale every morning (sometime every night in anticipation of my morning weigh-in).  When I tried his approach I gained 5 pounds in a week.

Neither of us look over-weight by most standards.  We both know that the weight distributed around our mid-section is not healthy, particularly considering we both have heart problems.

Why’s belly fat so bad

“Abdominal fat is one of the most dangerous kinds of fat you can have. The reason it’s so bad is that unlike your love handles — which are the pinchable fat right beneath your skin — the fat that is in your stomach area grows deep inside your body and it wraps around your vital organs. Your liver borrows this fat and turns it into cholesterol that can sneak into your arteries and start collecting there. When it collects, your arteries start to harden, and when they get hard, this can lead you to having a heart attack or stroke.”

 “A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health suggests the number of people who meet the criteria for overfat in the top 30 industrialized countries are more than all of the obese and overweight people in the world. In fact, they estimate that 90% of the men and 50% of the children in the US, New Zealand, Greece and Iceland are overfat. In the top overfat countries, researchers found 80% of the women were overfat, too.
This adds to previous research published in January that first suggested “the term more accurately encapsulates the problem itself.”
And if doctors rely only on the definitions we use to consider someone “obese,” or “overweight,” they may not be helping all the patients they should.”

What is overfat?

Overfat is a term created to describe if you have a body fat level that can actually hurt your health. Even people who are considered “normal weight” or “non-obese” by traditional standards can fall into this category.

 BMI, which stands for body mass index, is determined based on a person’s height and weight. You’re considered overweight if your BMI is between 25 to 29.9 and you’re obese if your BMI is 30 or above.
Chances are, even if you are not “fat,” by definition of these traditional measurements, you may still be “overfat.” And that’s going to have some seriously negative consequences for your overall health.

“If a doctor is relying on BMI to assess your potential danger from your fat, they miss the risk. Earlier studies have also shown that doctors that rely solely on BMI may miss other warning signs for people of different ethnicities put them at greater risk for heart problems and other health issues.

“The authors of this new study argue that BMI misses about 50% of the people who still have dangerous amounts of fat. Those are typically people who have the proverbial beer belly, but are otherwise in decent shape.”
“We shouldn’t be as much worried about weight,” said author Paul Laursen, an adjunct professor and performance physiologist at the Sports Performance Research Institute in New Zealand. Your scale or that BMI calculator don’t know that you could be an athlete and have a lot of muscle mass, or a growing teen. “What we should really be worried about is the fat part and where your fat is concentrated.”

Can apple cider vinegar help with weight loss?

This deep layer of belly fat is also what:

  • Makes your body insulin-resistant, which can lead you to having type 2 diabetes.

  • Cause inflammation, which scientists are finding at the root of many chronic diseases and even cancer and Alzheimer’s.

  • Raise your glucose levels and

  • Decrease your muscle mass. You need good muscle mass to help keep good heart health.

It’s no wonder earlier studies have shown that excess belly fat, even if you are skinny elsewhere, may be even more deadly than being obese or overweight. And that’s saying a lot, since good old fashioned obesity is related to all sorts of diseases and potentially life threatening problems like cancer, heart attacks, stroke, asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and a handful of other problems.

A better measure

“What may be a better way to assess if you are overfat is for your doctor to look more like a tailor and take a tape measure to your waist, the authors argue. If you want to try this at home, measure your circumference at your belly button. If your waist circumference is half your height or less, you are at a healthy fat level. If you are over that number, your fat could put you at risk for ill health.”

“It’s not as perfect a measure as if your doctor were to calculate your fat using an X-ray, but it’s a good indicator, suggests Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist and obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.”

 You could even do something simpler and look at your hip to waist ratio —

“If the waist is bigger than the hips, it tells me that the risk carried with that weight is much higher for that person for premature death,”

All doctors agree that dealing with excess fat needs to be a priority,as it truly can put someone’s life in jeopardy.

Are you listening, Rick?

xxxx jw

Read CNN article Overfat & Obesity Study

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