Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Apple or pear? (Part 2 of 3)

Continued from Part 1...

Research shows that people with "apple-shaped" bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with "pear-shaped" bodies who carry more weight around the hips. Hormone insulin has a much greater influence on fat cells in the waist and abdomen areas. For this reason people who metabolize insulin poorly and who develop insulin resistance are more likely to store abdominal fat and take on the shape of an apple. Since excess insulin strongly drives abdominal fat accumulation, anyone with an apple shaped, big-belly profile is likely experiencing insulin related metabolic problems and is at greater immediate risk for high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and early mortality. While still insulin related, fat that accumulates in the lower body is not as directly driven by an underlying insulin imbalance, plus fat distributed below the belt does not encroach on vital organs.

Below-the-belt fat accumulation, resulting in the pear shape, is not as immediately health threatening as above-the-belt fat accumulation. However, below-the-belt fat accumulation is still a problem, it’s just a problem with a longer fuse. Since fat cells throughout the entire body respond to insulin, if fat is accumulating anywhere, metabolically, excess insulin is causing it. With time, as insulin resistance worsens, people who store fat below the belt will start accumulating it above the belt too and they will start experiencing all of the more immediate health threatening problems their apple shaped friends likely experience right now.

The further our measurement is from 1.00 if we are male and from 0.80 if we are female, the higher our risk of developing a number of very nasty insulin related health problems.

As men generally store fat in the waist and abdominal areas that induce so many health-related problems, it is not surprising to learn that women live longer than men in general.

Life Expectancy at Birth
Department of Statistics, Malaysia

In a nutshell:
First, be a pear rather than an apple. (Do eat both fruits though!) Secondly, continue to watch our fat distribution even if we are a pear. Keeping the tummy flatter is always a good thing. Stay healthy!

Continue to Part 3...

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