We may find ourselves unhappy with our waistline at various points throughout life. This can be especially true after a period of eating and drinking on holiday. We asked Dr Valerie Druon from IMC Camden, to demystify some old myths about weight.
Myth 1: “I need to shed a few kilos”
Muscle mass weighs more than fat mass and gives you a leaner body shape. More importantly waist circumference is a predictor of your health risk. Research is emphasising excess weight, particularly around the waist increase your risk of up to 13 type of cancers and around 50 type of chronic illnesses. Excess fat around the waistline implies fat embedded between your internal organs causing a fatty liver, pancréas, kidneys, heart, ovaries, intestines, breasts.
Harvard Health Publications (Harvard Medical School) shows an alarming link to over 50 different health conditions including respiratory, urological, neurological, circulatory, musculoskeletal, psychological, gastrointestinal, pancreatic, nutritional, reproductive problems.
Myth 2: “My BMI is normal so I am ok”
Maybe you are…but this depends on your ethnicity as well. BMI and waist circumference cut-off for health benefits are lower for Asians compared to Caucasians.
The table below shows different BMI range for different ethnic groups. There is an increase risk of health-related illnesses with a high BMI and a high waist circumference.
|Asian BMI (kg/m2)||Asian Men
(waist circumference greater 90cm) Women (waist circumference greater 80cm)
|Caucasian BMI (kg/m2)||Caucasian Men
(waist circumference greater 102cm) Women (waist circumference greater 88cm)
|Normal||18-22.0||Increased risk||18.5-24.9||Increased risk|
|Overweight||23-26.9||High risk||25-29.9||High risk|
|Obese||Over 27||Very high risk||Over 30||Very high risk|
|Extremely obese||Over 35||Extremely high risk||Over 40||Extremely high risk|
Source: Harvard School of Public Health
Myth 3: “My cancer risk is low because I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I don’t have a family history of cancer.”
Congratulations for not smoking and not drinking! But if you are overweight with a suboptimal waist circumference, your risk of cancer, unfortunately, increases by up to 25%.
The leading cancers related to being overweight are breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, oesophage and stomach cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer.
The UK Cancer Research indicated that 13 types of cancer can be prevented with normal weight and waist.
Myth 4: “I‘ll just cut out the carbs”
There are many diets out there currently en vogue that may work well temporarily but not without some health complications. The fact is that wellbeing is a holistic matter that needs broad consideration of adequate nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management.
If you have concerns about your BMI or would like to discuss your weight please make an appointment to see your Doctor.