The Obesity Epidemic

August 15, 2013

Fat Guys

Obesity and Diabetes

Obesity is often associated with the high risk of having chronic diseases, such as, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases. And then, thin people or vegetarians may have a lower risk of diabetes? No. Obesity may not be the main factor.

A healthy lifestyle will determine the quality of human health. Even in a vegetarian, who is also doing regular exercises, may not lower the risk of diabetes, if the main cause is genetic. It is a fact that, human genes, and family history of diabetes, are associate with the risk of diabetes.

Clinical controlled trials had shown
solid evidence that type 2 diabetes is a disease of fatness. A five % of weight loss is sufficient to prevent most obese subjects with impaired glucose tolerance, in developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is obesity dependent, and obesity is well understood aetiology (study of causation), as the main cause of type 2 diabetes. (Astrup A, et al. 2000)

However, ask yourself!
How many times you met with an obese Indian, or Chinese?

An update 2012 data, from International Diabetes Federation showed that, there were 33.4 million men, and 29.6 million women with diabetes, in India. Also, there were 51.5 million men, and 40.8 million women with diabetes, in China.

While in my country of Indonesia, from about 300 million population, there were 3.2 million men, and 4.4 million women with diabetes, aged 20 to 79 years. In the US, there were 12.2 million men, and 11.9 million women with diabetes. (IDF)

According to the article published in 2009, by the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, the US generations might have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, if the obesity epidemic is not controlled.

Because, 35.1% of adults in the US, were classified as obese. In children, obesity will continue to increase steadily. The study showed that obesity may become the most difficult public health issues in the US. (Catenacci VA, et al. 2009)

Link Between Obesity and Prostate Cancer

The US Health Professionals Followup Study reported an inverse association between obesity, and the risk of developing prostate cancer, in men under 60 years of age, or in those with a family history of prostate cancer. The study found that body mass does not appear to affect the performance of prostate specific antigen as a diagnostic test. But, a lower body mass is associated with a higher cancer detection rate, on a prostate biopsy.

Although, several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the link between obesity and prostate cancer, including, hormonal alterations, hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood), glucose intolerance (inability to metabolize glucose), elevated IGF (insulin-like growth factor, hormone which exert an effect on bone cell metabolism), and leptin (hormone made by fat tissue, that acts on brain to regulate food intake, and body weight) levels, but, the mechanism which explains the association between obesity, and prostate cancer remains unclear. (Amling CL. 2005)

However, an article which published two months earlier, supported the hypothesis, that obesity is inversely associated with prostate cancer risk, in middle aged men. The study used the interviews from 753 men, aged 40 to 64 years, that were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1993 and 1996. (Porter MP, et al. 2005)

Obesity and Coronary Heart Disease

We cannot control from where we get our genes, and healthy lifestyle may not prevent us from getting diabetes. But, a healthy lifestyle may prevent us from getting coronary heart disease (CHD). High blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, are controllable risk factors of CHD.

A healthy diet and having regular exercise, can help maintaining a healthy weight, in which helps to control CHD risk factors. Five to ten % loss of body weight can lower the risk of CHD. Overweight children and teens are associated with the high risk of CHD, and may also have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, if their weight gain rates are not reduced. However, personally reducing calorie diets are not advised, unless approved by a physician. (NHLBI)

Image credit: Shakespeare's Monkey

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