Weight Changes in Early Adult Life

Being in your early 20s can be both fun and a challenge.  For many, this stage is the beginning of an entirely new phase of life – the prospects of having your first job, entering into new relationships or family, or continuing the challenges of learning new things.

In every new life phase comes new routines.  And this may cause drastic changes in lifestyle.  People may start to become less active in the gym or sports because of new challenges at work, or in the family.  Food habits change because of different environments like being with different set of people with different food habits.

Although some studies may vary in their conclusions (Proper, Picavet, Bogers, Verschuren, & Bemelmans, 2013), the changes in the lifestyle may pose potential problems for some because this may translate to weight gain if unchecked in the long run.  Financial struggles and challenges resulting from new responsibilities from the emerging independent adult can also predispose to weight gain (Conklin, Forouhi, Brunner, & Monsivais, 2014).

Knowing these issues and not losing focus in maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only prevents weight gain, but also decreases the potential for chronic diseases in the future.  Managing your time schedules regularly to incorporate even short periods of physical activity can help burn excess fat from previous overindulgence.  Incorporating mindfulness exercises during meals may decrease the risk of overeating and overconsumption of calories.  Being in the company of health-conscious individuals can further motivate you in carrying on with your fitness goals.

Choose to make your health a priority while in the prime of life. 

References:

Conklin, A. I., Forouhi, N. G., Brunner, E. J., & Monsivais, P. (2014). Persistent financial hardship, 11-year weight gain and health behaviors in the Whitehall II study: Persistent Hardship Increases 11-Year Weight Gain. Obesity, n/a-n/a. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20875

Proper, K. I., Picavet, H. S. J., Bogers, R. P., Verschuren, W. M., & Bemelmans, W. J. (2013). The association between adverse life events and body weight change: results of a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-957

PCOS and Weight Gain

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a heterogenous disorder that is characterized by a state of increased androgen levels (measured either clinically or through laboratory tests), a dysregulation of ovulatory functioning, and polycystic ovarian morphology.

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Although patients may remain without symptoms, most notable characteristics are a state of clinical hyperandrogenism particularly hirsutism (presence of hair overgrowth), menstrual irregularities (often leading to difficulty conceiving), and elevated testosterone levels in the blood.

The cause of PCOS is still unknown but is thought to develop from an interplay of factors from heredity, fetal development, environment, and metabolism.

It because of this relative hormonal and biochemical imbalance that PCOS is associated with a high prevalence of weight gain and obesity. Women with this condition range from 30-70% depending on which part of the world they are. Other conditions in which PCOS is associated with are: metabolic complications (such as type 2 diabetes), pregnancy complications, anxiety and depression, endometrial cancer, and obstructive sleep disorder.

Most medical societies advocate lifestyle modification measures as an important facet in the management of PCOS. Increasing physical activity and exercise together with a sensible diet has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes and improve ovulatory cycles among women with PCOS.

Weight loss may further be achieved by lessening caloric intake by 500 Calories per day. Consuming foods with low glycemic indices may help stave off cravings during the day and help stabilize blood glucose levels. Monitoring water intake to 2 liters per day may also help reduce food cravings. As with any weight loss measure, a daily multivitamin supplement may be necessary to supply nutrients from the restrictive diet.

References:

ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 194: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. (2018). Obstetrics & Gynecology, 131(6), e157–e171. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000002656

Australian National Health and Medical Research Council/American Society for Reproductive Medicine/European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (NHMRC/ASRM/ESHRE). (n.d.). International evidence-based guideline on assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Legro, R. S., Arslanian, S. A., Ehrmann, D. A., Hoeger, K. M., Murad, M. H., Pasquali, R., & Welt, C. K. (2013). Diagnosis and Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98(12), 4565–4592. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2013-2350

Ricardo Azziz, Enrico Carmina, ZiJiang Chen, Andrea Dunaif, Joop S. E. Laven, Richard S. Legro, Daria Lizneva, Barbara Natterson-Horowtiz, Helena J. Teede & Bulent O. Yildiz. (2016). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 2(16057). Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp201657

Effective Meal Planning may help prevent Obesity and Chronic Illness in the Young

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The issue of excessive weight gain is not only a growing problem of adults.  In today’s world, sedentary lifestyles have become increasingly common even in the young.  Instead of being in playgrounds or other activity areas, children mostly stay at home with their computers and tablets.  The influx of Western and instant cuisine also play a role in the diet of children.  Families are more likely seen eating in fast foods during weekends and holidays rather than enjoying home cooked meals.

With the changing lifestyle patterns also comes the increasing incidence of chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Now, it is not uncommon to see many young people suffering from these illnesses as well.

The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that interventions be made as early as the pre-school and school age so as to prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.  This may be achieved with awareness of healthy eating practices and maintaining healthy weights for kids.

MyPlate is a visual guide originally made by the US Department of Agriculture to remind families on how much of which should be present in the feeding plates of children.  A similar device has been adapted for Filipinos to make it applicable in the local setting and is named “Pinggang Pinoy“.

In the plate graphic, half of the plate should comprise vegetables and fruits during meals.  Vegetables comprises a majority of this portion.  Children are encouraged to eat more dark-green, red and orange vegetables.  The greater in the variation and contrast in colors can also aid in attracting kids in eating vegetables.

Fruits make up the other portion of the first half in MyPlate.  Pears, oranges, berries, watermelon, peaches and raisins are some examples that can be served on to the plates of kids.  Fruit juices may also substitute during occasions but only if 100% juice is served (and not juice concentrate which contains mostly table sugar).

A quarter of the plate should comprise healthy proteins.  Recommended are healthier sources such as fish, beans and peas.

The last quarter of the plate should be filled up with grains – preferably whole grains.  As such, kids are encouraged to eat oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, tortillas or brown rice more often.

To supplement their meals, children are also encouraged to take dairy in their meals.  This may come in the form of low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt for stronger teeth and bones.

Exercise should come in the form of play or any suitable physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.

The way for people to adapt to healthy lifestyles that persist is to imbibe them early.  Encouraging healthy eating using MyPlate or Pinggang Pinoy is one strategy that may help ensure this.

 

References:

Ogata, B. N and Hayes D.  Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Guidance for Health Children Ages 2 to 11 Years.  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014-08-01, Volume 114, Issue 8, Pages 1257-1276

Circuit Training among Elderly People

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The body changes as one ages. Some changes that are noticed would be that of elasticity of the skin leading to perceptible wrinkling. Muscles also shrink because of decrease in the size of individual muscle cells. Quality of vision, hearing and balance also start to become affected.

In terms of functioning, there are some limitations that become felt with the effects of aging.  The quality of exercise and physical activity training may help counteract these impending problems in the elderly.

Circuit exercise may be a suitable routine for certain populations of elderly people to combat the changes in their body. This exercise routine involves a series of around 10 exercises usually working different muscle groups or body parts, performed in succession, with adequate rest intervals (around 15-30 seconds) in between. The set may be repeated for one to three times.

Examples of circuit training routines may be obtained from the following: [Senior Fit Training]

An evaluation of several studies show that this type of workout routine leads to significant increases in both upper and lower body strength. Indirectly this signifies that this type of workout greatly improves the ability of elderly people in performing activities of daily life (ADLs). Lean body fat values appear to decrease but the effect was not significant. This was also true with regards to oxygen capacity which is responsible for the length of time a person is able to withstand cardiovascular activity without getting tired or exhausted.

The study also suggests that gains may be more visible if a person engages in the programs for long periods of time rather than short ones.

Live life to the fullest.  Engage in circuit training activities the soonest possible time.

References:

Buch, AB, et al. Circuit Resistance Training is an Effective Means to Enhance Muscle Strength in Older and Middle-Aged Adults. Ageing Research Reviews, 2017-08-01, Volume 37, Pages 16-27.

http://www.trainonline.com

What happens to the body in obesity?

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The body may bear the brunt when one’s weight increases over time.  This is the reason that obesity is often associated with many illnesses.

Blood pressure may often become elevated among people with weight issues. Blood sugar levels start to shoot up.  A person may also experience symptoms of diabetes such as increased urination and/or thirstiness, blurring of vision, pins and needles sensation in the toes and feet, darkening of the skin, etc.)

Persistent increase in weight may also affect heart functioning leading to an increase in size of the heart muscle and disturbance in the diastolic pressure.

Pain and swelling in the joints particularly in the hips and kneed are common in individuals who are obese.  This is because the lower parts of the body suffer the undue heaviness.

Start engaging in weight loss measures the soonest if you feel these symptoms alongside an increasing body weight.

 

Reference:

Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2018, 906-909.e8

How Fat is Fat?

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Back in the days, people who were “hefty” or “plump” are said to have been blessed by graces and blessings from above.  They were widely accepted in society as those who are more than able to provide for their means.

Nowadays, being “heavy” carries an uncertainty with the way one’s health goes.  As more and more research is done, this has been associated with a number of medical illnesses.  A handful of experts even include this state as a medical illness itself.  Organizations like the World Health Organization have even labeled obesity as an epidemic.

The term obesity is referred to when one’s body mass index (BMI) is equal to or more than 30kg/m2.  Special considerations are given to elite resistance athletes and body builders.  In order to know one’s BMI, you just have to take your height in meters and  weight in kilograms.  Dividing the weight by the square of the height gives the BMI.  The normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25.

Some experts believe that the real measure of obesity lies in the amount of visceral fat mainly deposited in the abdomen.  Precise measurements of this would need specialized imaging such as computed tomography or magnetic imaging resonance scans which may be impractical in some parts of the world.  A practical way of estimating this is by measuring the abdominal circumference.  Abdominal obesity is present if the waist measurement is more than 102 cm (40 inches) in men, and 88 cm (35 inches) in women.  This is important because an increasing abdominal girth predisposes a person more to certain chronic illnesses and even mortality, despite a normal BMI.

Take charge of your health beginning today.  Take your body mass index and waist circumference regularly to monitor your progress to healthy living.

 

References:

Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation. World Health Organ Tech Rep Ser 2000; 894: pp. i-xii

National Institutes of Health : Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults—the evidence report. Obes Res 1998; 6: pp. 51S-209S

Massage and Health

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The art of massage is often associated with relaxation.  Most often, people who would come for massages as those with sore muscles, those who suffer from tiredness or exhaustion from physical activity, or those who are stressed out from the daily grind.

Massage is defined as the systematic manipulation of soft tissues in the body for therapeutic effect.  The techniques vary as to the origin but the most popular, the Swedish technique, mainly consists of stroking and gliding, kneading and percussion movements.

The relaxing effect of massage may be traced to its ability to decrease the hormone, cortisol (or the stress hormone) in the body, and upsurge neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for increased state of well-being in the brain.  However, some studies refute this mechanism as their results show that the changes in cortisol level is somewhat small to explain the benefits that are observed.

The frequency of how often massage is performed in order to appreciate clinical benefits is yet to be fully discussed by experts.  Some studies say that at least 20 minutes of massage at bedtime given by parents to their asthmatic children has led to appreciable benefits.  In another study, 30-minute therapies given twice weekly to breast cancer patients has shown appreciable decrease in cortisol levels.

No matter what the case maybe, massage offers a soothing alternative to one’s busy lifestyle and healthy respite to the chaos of everyday life.

Have your massage today!

 

Reference:

Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, and Kuhn C: Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci 2005; 115: pp. 1397-1413

Listing M, Krohn M, Liezmann C, et al: The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer. Arch Womens Ment Health 2010; 13: pp. 165-173

Crane JD, Ogborn DI, Cupido C, et al: Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Sci Transl Med 2012; 4: pp. 119ra13