Archive for September, 2009

The Thigh and The Heart…Where’s The Connection?

September 21, 2009

Check your thighs… are they thin or thick?  big or small?

Now get a tape measure and read on…..

An intriguing study published in the British Medical Journal made me think….

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Objective To examine associations between thigh circumference and incident cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease and total mortality.

Design Prospective observational cohort study with Cox proportional hazards model and restricted cubic splines.

Setting Random subset of adults in Denmark.

Participants 1436 men and 1380 women participating in the Danish MONICA project, examined in 1987-8 for height, weight, and thigh, hip, and waist circumference, and body composition by impedance.

Main outcome measures 10 year incidence of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease and 12.5 years of follow-up for total death.

Results:

  •  A small thigh circumference was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases and total mortality in both men and women.
  •  A threshold effect for thigh circumference was evident, with greatly increased risk of premature death below around 60 cm.
  • Above the threshold there seemed to be no additional benefit of having larger thighs in either sex.
  • These findings were independent of abdominal and general obesity, lifestyle, and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid concentration.

Conclusions:

  • A low thigh circumference seems to be associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease or premature death.
  • The adverse effects of small thighs might be related to too little muscle mass in the region.
  • The measure of thigh circumference might be a relevant anthropometric measure to help general practitioners in early identification of individuals at an increased risk of premature morbidity and mortality.

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What is interesting of this study is the finding that the risk to cardiovascular disease was in fact  more highly related to thigh circumference than to waist circumference. 

Now therefore…we have a very simple way of determining based on a method we can easily do anywhere pt measure and assess ones risk! 

The CUT OFF size is 60 cm…that’s the magic number …anything smaller is harmful so the study says….

Will the risk reverse once we increase the circumference of the thighs? Again …the whole picture of a healthy lifestyle still is the best way to combat chronic diseases and heart disease. 

But for now, thinner thighs mean lesser muscle mass which may mean insulin may not work properly and therefore can predispose this individual to diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.   In this study, the people with a thigh measurement of less than 46.5 centimetres (18 inches)had roughly double the chances of getting heart and circulation problems or dying during the study.  

So what needs to be done? If you have a small thighs you can do something about it!!!!

Exercise!!!

Another reason for us to move and work out!

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Obesity and Bullying…

September 10, 2009

In one study that looked at overweight children, 60% of boys reported being bullied in school.  Whether children report the incident to their parents or not is another matter. 

So when I give a talk on obesity and the risks associated with having overweight kids, I also emphasize not only the medical aspect of the problem but aso the psychosocial problems associated with childhood obesity. 

Recently a report on the effect of bullying in children was publ;ished in Archives of General Psychiatry, September 7, 2009 issue. It showed that a history of being a victim of bullying at age 8 years among females independently predicted psychiatric hospital treatment and use of antipsychotic, antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs… this association was regardless of psychiatric problems at baseline.

Among males on the other hand , victims of frequent bullying predicted the future use of antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs as well as increase  psychiatric hospital treatment and use of antipsychotics.

This new study clearly emphasizes the need for parents to further look at how we feed our children becuase giving in to their desires and wants rather than need can mean a future that is filled with medical risks. 

The association of being overweight and being targets of bullying cant be over emphasized.  There should be a stop somewhere and it should start within the confines of our home…

Teaching them the right amount and the right kind of food means a better future for them both physically and emotionally.

How To Eat and Live Longer….

September 3, 2009

People have been looking for the miracle pill to live longer.  Cosmetic surgeries are on the rise because of vanity and the desire to feel and look young. Healthy lifestyle through proper food choices have always been advocated by different medical societies as the way to go BUT finding the right choices of food and the most practical activities to do remain elusive to most.

The so called Mediterranean diet has long been touted as having shown to have the most healthy components in terms of food choices.  Recently in a population based study done in Greece published in British Medical Journal, June, 2009, Mediterranean diet appeared to contribute to increased longetivity.

After a mean follow-up of 8.5 years, there were more deaths among individuals who were on low Mediterranean diet components than among individuals whose diet components were high of the Mediterranean-diet.  Furthermore, the study was able to teased out the contribution of each component to low mortality:

  • moderate consumption of alcohol (23.5% of the effect),
  •  low consumption of meat (16.6%),
  • high consumption of vegetables (16.2%),
  • high consumption of fruits and nuts (11.2%),
  • high monounsaturated-to-saturated lipid ratio (10.6%), and
  • high consumption of legumes (9.7%).

The study suggested therefore that the largest effects on reduced mortality came from drinking moderate amounts of alcohol equivalent to five small glasses of wine (10 g/day to less than 50 g/day) for men and half that for women as well as eating little meat while eating lots of vegetables, eating fruits and nuts, and using olive oil.  It is however very important to note that the individual components of the Mediterranean diet gave an additive protective effect to the overall mortality.  The study suggests that it is still the overall dietary habit that will determine whether your diet is healthy and can lead to longer life than just relying on the health benefits of an individual diet component.

So change to a healthier lifestyle with five servings of vegetables, three to four servings of fruits, nuts a day, lots of vegetables, less meat and moderate amount of the so called French Paradox: Wine

Toast To A Long Life!!!