Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bigger Belly, Shorter Lives

Waist size was strongly associated with the risk of death, according to a recent study (The New England Journal of Medicine 2008, 359:20). The risk of death was 2 times higher in people with highest waist circumferences (even with normal body weights!). This was a very elegant and clear demonstration of the importance of controlling and prevention of abdominal (or visceral) obesity.

Why should we care?

($$$ Unless you enjoy wasting money, you should).

Because people will have to accept the notion that overeating relative to the calories burned through physical activity leads to premature aging, illnesses and death. Also, there is the issue of the ever-expanding arsenal of medications being offered to treat all of our weight-related problems; these medicines come with co-pays, lab tests and other medical care (i.e. co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses). So, even if you are not motivated by some remote and vague goal of health, cutting your present medical bills might motivate a second look at a salad bar instead of a higher calorie option.

Bottom line:

Seek out calorie-controlled meal alternatives, which will provide you with quality nutrition without the extra calories. This way you will minimize the risks of gaining the unwanted poinds, especially around the all-important midsection.

Add regular exercise to your weekly schedule (which will double as the best stress-management technique) and enjoy a long and healthy (i.e. less money wasted on medical expenses) life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Obesity Scare

Another day, another scary problem overtaking the american citizenry. If it wasn't the financial debacle, it's the obesity tsunami! Healthcare costs going up, incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure are skyrocketing with no end in site. What are we to do? Since I can't help you with your upside down mortgage, let me try to at least reduce your medical costs. In the ensuing posts, I will try to present some simple ideas that could help people shave off good chunks of their monthly medical expenses.

P.S. Since this is my initial post, let me be clear right of the bat - our present healthcare system is quite dysfunctional and is unlikely to survive in its present form. (and this is the polite version coming from a practicing physician).