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Live Longer by Watching Your Waist Size

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Increased waist size is a known predictor of mortality. Fat in the midsection sets us up for diabetes and heart disease by contributing to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that contribute to early death. Metabolic syndrome includes high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, abdominal obesity, hypertension, and inability of the body to synthesize sugars properly, making weight loss a bigger problem. Fat is harmful, especially around the mid-section. Watching your waist can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and other illnesses that can lead to a shorter lifespan..

Maintaining a lower body mass index, (BMI) is consistently found to increase lifespan. Thicker waistlines come with age, or so we assume. Keep belly fat at bay. Abdominal fat secretes chemicals and hormones that harm the body. It's not just about exercise. Cutting your risk dying early is not just about exercise – it includes minding your waist size.

Even if you are not overweight or obese, you are more likely to discover health problems even if those jeans are just a bit snugger. It is not okay to ignore the problem of increasing waist size.

Men are especially at risk for heart disease. A little belly fat might not be unattractive at all, but it is not healthy. Waist circumference larger than 42.7 inches in men was shown to substantially promote the risk of premature death, according to a recent large European study, called the EPIC study - despite weight. The research comes from scientists at the Imperial College London, the German Institute of Human Nutrition, and other contributors across Europe. Every 5cm of increase in waist size increases the risk of death by 17%.

According to Professor Elio Riboli, coordinator of the EPIC study, (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition): "The good news is that you don't need to take an expensive test and wait ages for the result to assess this aspect of your health - it costs virtually nothing to measure your waist and hip size…If you have a large waist, you probably need to increase the amount of exercise you do every day, avoid excessive alcohol consumption and improve your diet. This could make a huge difference in reducing your risk of an early death."

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Consider some simple dietary changes. Eat fresh. Add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Processed foods, including lunch meats and canned foods contribute to improper distribution of body fat through the way our body processes chemicals. Researchers believe that phthalates, found in many products contribute to abdominal obesity.

BPA, from plastic bottles, and other environmental exposure, has also been found to contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome. Low testosterone levels in men are thought to contribute to abdominal obesity, increasing the risk of heart disease. Canned products, lined with BPA may also contribute to central obesity. Studies also say that MSG contributes to obesity, also found in processed food. Becoming mindful of what we ingest just might go a long way toward promoting a longer life.

Exercise regularly. Abdominal exercise strengthens the mid-section, but without other dietary and lifestyle changes, you're unlikely to stop the series of events that causes a thicker waistline.

Avoid personal care products that contain potentially harmful chemicals. Don't eat foods containing trans-fats. Foods high in sugar, white rice, bread and pasta turn to sugar. It's better to focus on whole grains, wheat pasta, and brown rice. Skip the baked goods. Try fresh fruit instead. One square of dark chocolate a day is healthy, scavenging free radicals. Foods are a powerful way to facilitate the way your body stores fat. Try to focus on organic foods. We still don't know the total effect of pesticides. Remember, that exposure to harmful chemicals adds up over a lifetime.

How To Know If Your Waist Size is Unhealthy

Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement - the lower the better. Every 0.1 unit higher waist-hip-ratio produces a 34% increased risk of premature death. Waist circumference aside, men who maintain a 25.3 body mass index (BMI) also have the lowest risk of early death from heart disease.

Enjoy years of good health, and decrease your health risks by focusing on a slimmer waistline. Minding your waist size is a simple way to maintain overall good health, and cut your risk of an early death.

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