Since our conversation is about implementing preventative ways to becoming obese and diabetic, especially about Type 2, it’s important for us to know the basics of each disease.
Last episode, I touched upon A1C and as being used as the most common biomarker test for prediabetes and diabetes. Diabetes Type 2 is driven mostly by lifestyle choices and occurs when blood sugar or blood glucose is abnormally high. Our bodies digest foods we eat and break them down into glucose. The pancreas produces insulin and one of insulin’s main jobs is to help glucose get into our cells. Once glucose is inside the cells, the cells convert glucose into energy to use right away or store it for later.
HINT. HINT. Digestion and energy storage are important concepts we will discuss more in the future.
Let’s also define obesity, what’s the difference between being overweight and being obese, and what the key indicators for obesity.
In a nutshell, overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that prevents a risk to health. A few common causes of obesity are overeating, physical inactivity, malnutrition especially a diet high in simple carbs and sugar, frequency of eating, and medications.
There are many ways you can measure body fat and each method has pros and cons. Let me touch upon three ways.
BMI (Body Mass Index)
This is the most basic and method used to measure obesity is the BMI. It’s the ration of weight to height. You don’t need a doctor or a fitness trainer to tell you what your BMI is. I shared a link with BMI table and calculator you can use. There are many cons of using this method, but that’s a good starting point.
Last episode, Mary said that by BMI, her aunts were obese. What did she mean with that?
Normal weight is a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9; overweight is a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9; obesity is a BMI of 30.0 or higher
Waist-to-Hip (WTH) Ratio
This method helps assess someone’s health risk based on where a person carrier the weight. Higher the weight in the waist higher the chances or greater amount of visceral fat surrounding the vital organs. You and I do NOT want that. So you measure your waist and your hip and divide the waist by hip.
The Waist-to-hit ratio varies between men and women. Females are at risk when ratio is greater than 0.86. Males are at risk when ratio is greater than 0.95.
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)
This is a very accurate method. This method uses two low-level X-ray beans to develop estimates of fat-free mass, fat mass, lean mass and bone mineral density. I will talk more about using DEXA and my own results in future episodes.
During our conversation, Mary mentioned that all her aunts started to gain weight in their mid-to-late 40s and they are now in their 70s with diabetes.
So is there a correlation between obesity and Type 2 diabetes?
Yes. Unfortunately, In the US, roughly 112,000 deaths per year are directly correlated to obesity, and of these deaths are in people with BMI over 30. Folks with a BMI over 40 have a reduced life expectancy. Obesity increases the risk for many chronic diseases including:
Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart attack, cancer especially colon, breast, prostate, gout, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and insulin resistance which is one of my favorite topics to educate and help clients with improve. IR is a precursor to prediabetes and diabetes. IR creeps up way before these diagnosis. IR and obesity are interconnected in many ways. And here is the thing, you can be insulin resistance without being overweight or obese.
Certainly, this was my case for years. My mission is help men and women to undue all the harm and improve their health just like I accomplished for myself.
This is a good stopping point for Part 2 of this mini-series. Next episode, we will dive into Mary’s lifestyle choices and their relationship with risks of increasing obesity and diabetes and of course, I share nuggets of practical recommendations to prevent these diseases.
In the meantime, if you feel uneasy about where you stand right now and want to put a plan to change the direction of your health, book a complimentary call with me.