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Medicine & Health Education
Essential Therapeutic Life Style Changes
For a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit
Some Simple Steps to Uplift the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health
Bala N. Aiyer, M.D.
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Part - 03
 
 
PART - 03: GENETIC DISORDERS INHERITED FROM OUR PARENTS
 
 
 
 
03.01: Genetic contribution to body mass, over-weight and Obesity

Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Whether or not a person is overweight depends on their height, body frame and how much they weigh. The total body weight as a ratio to the height is expressed as Body Mass Index (BMI). Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. Ideal numbers are between 18.5 and 24.9 and BMI of 25 to 30 is considered as over-weight. If BMI is above 30, that will be Obesity. As we had seen earlier, overweight or obesity is a disorder afflicting us apart from diabetes and hypertension. Many Indians succumb to this defect which is caused by a metabolic syndrome that prevents proper utilization of the nutrients in the food. Let us first analyze the reasons for corpulence. Some of us are by nature slim while some others are fat. But we cannot escape by pointing out our genes as the culprit for the flabbiness. Recently I read somewhere that Obesity is not because it runs in the family but because "no one in the family runs".

Many individuals among us have adopted a defective food style either by not eating enough or overeating; wrong food habits as well as lack of physical exercise; modernity adds to the ill-effects. Most people eat lot of starch products like rice, wheat and potatoes and lots of fat as butter and ghee [melted butter] and also lots of fried foods. Calories taken-in as food in excess of what we burn by our daily activities and exercise get accumulated as fat and leads to weight gain. By this process, the body starts accumulating fat leading to expanding waistlines. There are persons who are not obese but may develop a bulging waistline. Women during their reproductive age do not get a bulging waistline but put all that extra fat in the thighs and behinds. It is therefore clear that only safe dietary practices and proper exercise can prevent these disorders. The fat accumulated in the midriff may reduce the effectiveness of the insulin produced in the body, in keeping the blood sugar level under control - called as insulin resistance. In this type of diabetes, even though insulin is available in sufficient quantum, its inability to do its role leads to all the complications of metabolic syndrome. Sometimes we hear a controversy that if it is the excess fats that leads to Insulin resistance and diabetes or is the fat accumulation the effect of Diabetes. In either way, one leads to the other and you end up in a cycle of this making the metabolic syndrome worse. We should therefore adopt such preventive measures as are necessary to control the body mass. Whatever is taken should not be excess or rich food but just sufficient to maintain the body.

03.02: How much food do you need?

Food that we eat has calories, which the body uses as energy. In the adolescent stage of growth, that is, up to 20 years of age, a large amount of food is required to nourish the growth of tissue, limbs and internal organs. As already noted, in a full grown adult up to the age of 35 years, this amount of food containing 2000 to 2500 calories is required especially for those involved in heavy physical labor. The food needs to contain substantial amounts of proteins and fats. But after the age of 40, such rich food is not needed, since the body does not require that much intake to maintain itself. If you eat more food than that your body will burn, during activities and exercises for energy needs, the extra calories will be stored as fat. Those who consume lots of rice and wheat (rich in carbohydrates) will have the excess starch converted to fat by the body metabolism which leads to obesity. This will lead to diabetes and hypertension. So it becomes clear that adult members, after the age of 35 or 40, based on the exercise and work they do, will need to limit their Calories intake to 1000 to 1500 Calories only.

03.03: Food consumption and Physical Exercises

A person consuming an Idli (Rice cakes) with a Caloric content of 80 can convert and store it as fat capable of giving 180 calories. Eating like this will cause diabetes in two ways: one, it leads to excess glucose (sugar) and secondly accumulation of fat leads to insulin resistance apart from increasing body mass. The consequence of guzzling 2000 calories instead of 1000 that are actually needed for sustenance can be imagined by you. If partaking of 6 idlis and 2 vadas at the age of 25 is continued till the mid-forties the results are obvious. It is a good practice to limit the consumption of food even at an early age. Alternatively, it would be a good habit to consume skimmed milk (low fat), fruits and vegetables. As we will feel hungry when we eat fewer quantities, the advice is to add additional servings of non-Caloric food items containing fibers and vegetables to take the place of restricted intake of food items. A sudden reduction of intake by those accustomed to heavy meals will have a negative effect on the metabolism. The chemical process of converting food to energy will undergo a change by which the body will reduce the production of energy (as done during fasting) and convert the rest of the food as fat for future usage! This would also result in some amount of weight gain in spite of one going on a diet. To avoid such a situation it is best to do some physical exercise to burn the fat instead of storing it. The exercise activity may be just for 20 to 45 minutes; in two sessions if necessary. Aerobics, fast walking, jogging and cycling can be taken up but simple brisk walking will do. This is termed "Behavior Modification".

 
   
   
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-- This is called Behavior Modification --
Essential Lifestyle Changes -- for a healthy Body, Mind and Spirit 0
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Thank You
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