Unhealthy weight gain or obesity could up the risk of heart diseases stroke and high blood pressure, says a new European based study. The study conducted on nearly 300,000 people reinforced the correlation of excessive weight gain and poor heart health.
The study published in the European Heart Journal noted that the risk of heart and blood vessel problems increases as body mass index (BMI) increases beyond 22-23 kg per square metre. The risk steadily increases with the increase in fat percentage round the waist.
"By maintaining a healthy BMI of around 22-23 kg per square metre, healthy people can minimise their risk of developing or dying from heart disease," said lead researcher Stamatina Iliodromiti from University of Glasgow in Britain.
Obesity is a condition that is characterized by excessive body fat that increases the risk of many health problems, most significant of them being that of heart.
While it is a correlation well known that being overweight or obese increases a person's risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as other diseases such as cancer, there have also been studies that have suggested otherwise.
According to these studies, particularly in the elderly, being overweight or even obese might not have any effect on deaths from CVD or other causes. The studies also claimed, that the weight could prove beneficial for people, especially if they maintain a reasonable level of fitness. This is known as the "obesity paradox".
The new study however refuted these previous findings.
"Any public misconception of a potential 'protective' effect of fat on heart and stroke risks should be challenged," Iliodromiti said.
The researchers found that as BMI increased above 22 kg per square metre, the risk of CVD increased by 13 per cent for every 5.2 kg per square metre increase in women and 4.3 kg per square metre in men.
"This is the largest study that provides evidence against the obesity paradox in healthy people," Iliodromiti said.
"It is possible that the story may be different for those with pre-existing disease because there is evidence that in cancer patients, for instance, being slightly overweight is associated with lower risk, especially as cancer and its treatments can lead to unhealthy weight loss," she added.
From children to adults, obesity sees no age and can affect anybody. Re-organising your kitchen, swapping the fat-laden unhealthy junk with nutrient-dense food is the best gift you can give to yourself.
Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta, who wasn't part of the study, gives out pointers that are a must to follow to manage obesity
1. Swap refined carb sources for whole grains. A whole grain is a grain of any cereal that contains the endosperm, germ, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm. A whole grain manages to retain all the nutrients that are processed in the refining. Stock up on whole grains like bajra, ragi, maize and jowar and use them often.
2. Just like grains, whole dals are also a better bet than the washed dals. Rajma, and chana dals are some of the healthiest dals you can fill up your shelves with. You can cook them, have them in sprouts or in soups.
3. Avoid red meat and opt for lean meat like chicken and salmon. Adding protein with every meal could prove to be a game changer for anyone trying to lose weight.
4. Load up on seasonal vegetables. They provide both soluble and insoluble fibres in addition to vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
5. Stay away from trans fats as they are one of the biggest culprits of growing instances of obesity globally. Fast food, instant food, fried junk, cookies, pasta, burger and noodles- these trans-fats are spread all across us.
6. Sugar intake should be less than 10% of your total calories; for a normal weight woman who needs 1900Kcal/day, this is about 10 -11 teaspoons of sugar. Below 5% would be better. A lot of foods have natural sugar hidden in them too, so one has to be mindful of that as well.
(With inputs IANS)