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Around Our Town...To Your Health

A good reason to sweat

02/01/2006 - Well it's February and most of you are getting in shape, hoping to get back into the clothes of last summer or into the outfit that some relative "mistakenly" gave you for Christmas and you want to be seen it at a family reunion. But realistically we do it for our health. We do not want to wheeze going up the front porch steps. Your back would be immensely thankful for the decreased stress loads on you spine. But our most thankful body part will always be your heart. When you start exercising you can do all the necessary goal setting you want in terms of your pants or dress size, but did you know you can assess your risk for heart attack by doing some measuring and therefore have a true goal tfor which to shoot.

In the journal Lancet, November 2005, a group of individuals did a case control study of 27,000 participants from 52 countries on the assessment of obesity and the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack). As you are aware, this country as well as the population of the world, has a growing obesity problem and the amount of dollars spent on this problem is staggering. This study was to evaluate the most predictive measure that would be for all ethnic groups (No big bone excuses). Currently the most accepted measurement was the Body Mass Index (BMI).

BMI is a formula that includes both height and weight

This group assessed the BMI, waist and hip circumferences, and waist to hip ratio.

What were their findings you ask? Waist to hip ratio shows a graded and highly significant association with myocardial infarction risk worldwide. It also proved to be a more strongly related assessment of myocardial infarction than the BMI. So are you ready to see where you are at? First take a non-stretchable standard tape measure. Next measure around your waist between your ribs and the top of your hip bones (No sucking it in) and write it down. Now measure over light clothing (underwear) at the level of the widest diameter round the buttocks and write this down. Take the waist measurement and divide it by the hip measurement and what do you get? If your number is 1.0 or greater for male and .95 or greater for female you are at a high risk. If your number falls between a .95 and 1.0 for males and .90 and .95 for females you are at a moderate risk.

Now this test does not excuse you from having regular blood work or monitoring your blood pressure, etc., but it gives you a simple test that could give you more reinforcement as to the need to maintain a proper regimen and diet. So keep in mind that every inch you lose in the waist will not only make you look better, but your heart will be grateful as well. Until next time...

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