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Weighty Matters: How Excess Weight Is Ruining Your Future—and Your Kids Future Too

Weighty Matters: How Excess Weight Is Ruining Your Future—and Your Kids Future Too

One more time we’re weighing in on the goodness of maintaining a healthy weight. And we have some intriguing new insights into weighty matters—and innovative solutions to help you effectively achieve your best weight and stroll the planet for a few more years.

So What’s a Healthy Weight?  Every person’s healthy weight depends on age, height, amount of body fat vs muscle, and specific health challenges. But in general you’re carrying excess weight if your waist circumference is over 40 inches for a guy and 35 inches for a gal and/or if your body mass index (BMI) is above 25. A BMI above 30 puts you at substantial risk for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease; and above 40 means you’re morbidly obese. (See BMI charts at myclevelandclinic.org.)

What Are the Newly Discovered Consequences of Overweight and Obesity? The latest revelations come from a joint Cleveland Clinic-New York University School of Medicine study. Presenting their work at the recent 2017 Society of General Internal Medicine annual meeting, the researchers revealed the dangers of over-tipping the scales; you lose up to 47 percent more life years from obesity than from tobacco or high blood pressure—and you know how notorious those two are for their life-shortening powers (each makes your RealAge four years older)!

The top five life-shortening conditions came in as obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And many of YOU have two or three or more of those risk factors!

Obesity also affects cognition, according to a study in Diabetologia. The researchers used MRI scans to evaluate the thickness of the cerebral cortex and gave participants tests for memory, psychomotor speed, and executive function.

The results? Overweight folks with type 2 diabetes had grey matter that was significantly thinner in the parts of the brain where visual info is processed (occipital lobe), where intelligence and personality are synthesized (prefrontoparietal cortex), and where planning, control, and execution of voluntary movements happens (motor cortex).  

How Parental Obesity Effects Kids New research on mice presented at the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, showed that if mom is obese then male offspring end up with an increased risk for fatty liver and female offspring end up with less gut biome diversity—a known risk for obesity. Researchers also found that if Dad eats a high fat diet before conception, offspring are more likely to become insulin resistant and gain excess weight.

How Obesity Effects Children The dangers of overweight are not confined to adults. There are almost 13 million OBESE CHILDREN in the U.S. According to a study in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, those kids have quadruple the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by age 25 compared to kids with a healthy BMI!

Solutions? You’ve heard this before: “Avoid the Five Food Felons!” “Walk 10,000 steps a day!”  They work, really well, but sometimes you need to try a new approach. Here are three additional ways to boost weight loss that are healthy and wise.

1. Cut down on methionine-containing foods for a few weeks. The greatest quantity of this essential amino acid is found in pork, beef, eggs and dairy (which we advise you to cut out anyway). You need methionine (in dark leafy greens and veggies), but reducing the intake (not of greens) might help reduce body fat and stabilize blood sugar. That’s what researchers found when they put mice on a methionine-controlled diet.

2. Take a probiotic daily: An imbalance in the gut biome may be the root cause of weight gain for many people. We recommend two brands that survive stomach acid and deliver the goods to your guts—Culturell and Digestive Advantage.

3. Yoga, meditation and deep breathing are stress-reducing techniques that can lower elevated levels of the stress-hormone cortisol. That can transform your body (less inflammation, healthier cardio, better regulation of appetite-controlling hormones) and your weight.

Medically reviewed in June 2018.

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