Obesity Decreases The Odds
There is the saying the health of a nation is the wealth of a nation. According to reports from the experts, non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) are on the rise globally, of more concern to Barbadians is the more significant rise occurring in developing countries. It is not our approach to this subject to be judgemental, we all have our challenges with balancing our lifestyles and healthy living.
What cannot be denied is the rising number of CNCDs in Barbados according to the periodic reports we get from our officials. Concern by the former government forced the establishment of the National Task Force on CNCDs which was established to produced a policy document for the prevention and control of CNCDs. Among the recommendations were:
The establishment of a Health Promotion Unit.
The establishment of the post of Senior Medical Officer of Health (CNCDs).
The establishment of a National Commission on CNCDs.
Despite the task force initiative our country continues to struggle with perpetuating a culture of healthy living. We understand Barbados currently occupies the highest category for incidence of diabetes and obesity.
To arrest the problem calls for a lifestyle adjustment which maybe a cry in the wilderness based on how our society continues to develop i.e. proclivity for fast food, foods infected with preservatives, driving instead of walking etc. The greatest irony for the BU household continues to be the rising number of CNCDs as we boast of achieving first world status in 2025. What yardstick are we using to measure success?
Yet another study has been released by the medical fraternity which predicts a sorry outcome for people who surrender to the battle of the bulge. The study used females to feed its research, we hope our resident medical expert Dr. GP can validate whether we can extrapolate the findings to include men.
Obesity is a “significant factor” in predicting how long a person will live, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, and the University of Warwick in Coventry analysed data gathered since 1976 from more than 17,000 female nurses living in 11 US states.
They found that women who were obese in middle age had 79% lower odds of healthy survival compared with women who kept their weight at a healthy level.
The study also found that putting on weight from the age of 18 until middle age was a predictor of how long women would live in good health.
For every 1kg increase in weight gain since age 18, the odds of healthy survival decreased by 5%, the researchers said.
Women who were overweight at age 18 and gained 10kg of weight to middle age had particularly low survival – reduced by 82% – compared with women who were lean and maintained a stable weight.
Obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) over 30, while lean women had a BMI of 18.5 to 22.9.
At the start of the study, nurses filled in questionnaires on their lifestyles, weight and height and history of disease. They were questioned again every two years for more than a 20-year period, providing updates on their health as well as weight and current lifestyle. Any reported illnesses were checked against medical records and other data.
The experts classed people as healthy if they reached the age of 70 or older while being free from major chronic diseases and associated surgery: cancer, diabetes, heart attack, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, congestive heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.