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Name: Simon Quellen Field
Location: Los Gatos, California, United States

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

A gut feeling about mortality



Dr. Robert Ross has been studying abdominal fat and mortality.

There are two components to abdominal fat. Subcutaneous fat lies just below the skin, and it is the fat you can pinch with your fingers. But it is the visceral fat, the fat located behind the abdominal muscles, that is the major risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance and lipoprotein metabolism (cholesterol). People with excess visceral fat have higher triglyceride levels, and lower HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels.

Waist circumference is an accurate predictor of type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat more often accompanies left venticular enlargement and hypertension than subcutaneous fat.

Luckily, there is a method for reducing visceral fat, even without losing weight. Magnetic resonance imaging studies are showing that exercise reduces visceral fat more than other types of fat.

It makes sense that the fat deposits that correlate best with lipid metabolism and insulin levels are the fat stores used up first when exercise demands energy from fat stores.

Moderate intensity exercise (40 minute walk) increases not only aerobic capacity, but increases insulin sensitivity. You no longer get short of breath, and you are less prone to diabetes related complications.

So, all you guys with beer bellies -- take a hike!



2 Comments:

Anonymous Mick X said...

Nice blog.

Your observations comport with quite a bit of other science that shows that sedentary behavior is a far better predictor of health risk than body mass (obesity). Most of this science, however, has been largely ignored by the MSM.

Some interesting tidbits:

"[A] fit man carrying 50 pounds of body fat had a death rate less than one-half that of an unfit man with only 25 pounds of body fat." (Harvard Health Policy Review, 2003)

"Active obese individuals actually have lower morbidity and mortality than normal weight individuals who are sedentary . . . the health risks of obesity are largely controlled if a person is physically active and physically fit." (The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2000)

"Compared with normal weight, overweight and obesity did not significantly increase all-cause mortality risk. Compared with low CRF [cardiorespiratory fitness], moderate and high CRF were associated significantly with lower mortality risk." (Obesity Research, 2002)

"This prospective follow-up study among middle-aged and elderly men and women indicates that obesity (as assessed by increased BMI) is not related to an increased risk of all-cause and CVD mortality, but low-level LTPA [leisure time physical activity] and a low level of perceived physical fitness and functional capability are. . . . In conclusion, in contrast with our initial hypothesis, obesity was not found to be an independent predictor of mortality among middle-aged and elderly men and women. However, low-level LTPA seemed to predict and a low level of perceived physical fitness and functional capability predicted an increased risk of all-cause and CVD mortality among both men and women." (International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders, 2000)

"Consistently, physical inactivity was a better predictor of all-cause mortality than being overweight or obese." (Annals of Epidemiology, 2002)

Definitely some food for thought, no? (For more info, check out the
Obesity Myths web site.

April 26, 2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Simon Quellen Field said...

All things being equal, the man with more visceral fat will have more health problems.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a poor indicator of health -- but it is somewhat convenient, so it is used. It becomes much more useful when accompanied by a tape measure.

Get more exercise, and the visceral fat should go down. But generally, your overall fat will also go down, along with the problems it causes.

A man carrying a 50 pound pack feels a lot better when he takes it off.

April 26, 2006 1:38 PM  

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