The Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle – Dealing With Diabetes and Obesity
A large body of evidence suggests that obesity is an independent risk factor for early mortality in Western cultures.
Obesity is responsible for a number of comorbidities, a group of problems called cardiometabolic disease which encompass lipid disorders, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, obesity increases the risk of illnesses such as sleep apnea, and several types of cancer.
Prediabetic states and type 2 diabetes mellitus are particularly linked to obesity and overweight.
So, what’s the link?
A connection between obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus has been established.
It seems that obesity and weight gain increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. If you lose weight, type 2 diabetes mellitus gets better and you reduce the chance of becoming a type 2 diabetic if you’re at high risk.
Race and gender seem to be also risk factors. For instance, African American women and Hispanic women in that order are the patient groups at greatest risk for obesity in the United States.
Obesity matters, but…
Studies show that although you are obese or overweight, there are other traits that determine whether you are at risk of becoming a type 2 diabetic or not. So, with similar BMI, and similar percent body fat, it’s the amount of fat accumulated around the abdominal organs what determines the outcome.
The point seems to be that a higher amount of visceral abdominal fat determines a higher insulin resistance, where the natural hormone insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugars, and you’ll tend to have excess fat in the wrong places, such as in the cells of your muscles, and in your liver.
Therefore, as an obese individual this is what makes the difference, whether you’re insulin-sensitive or insulin-resistant.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can improve insulin sensitivity.
The pillars of a healthy lifestyle
Though the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices are well established among the general population, public health authorities and health care providers make constant efforts to divulge the great importance of following a healthy lifestyle to reduce premature appearance of diseases.
A definition of a healthy lifestyle includes:
Regular practice of physical exercise (12 times per month).
High intake of fruits and vegetables in the diet (5 servings per day).
Avoiding or quitting smoking.
Moderate consumption of alcohol (up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men according to current guidelines of the US Department of Agriculture).
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), recommend 5%-10% of weight loss to accomplish control of glycemia and improve type 2 diabetes mellitus symptoms.
Fortunately, regardless of an individual’s BMI, adherence to healthy lifestyle habits seems to decrease the risk of premature mortality and comorbidities. So, even if your attempts to lose weight are unsuccessful you may still benefit from adopting a healthy life style.