Weight reduction and maintaining a healthy body weight level is closely tied to the average person's risk exposure to heart disease. The obesity epidemic that we are experiencing in this country today has been a catalyst in the increase of cholesterol (and heart disease) and diabetes levels among the population.
However, controlling one's weight becomes a real issue as we age. Decreasing or preventing age-related weight gain in the first place has proven to be a challenge for many who begin entering middle age. An article in the December 15th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) delved into this issue by analyzing the connection between ongoing physical activity levels and weight gain in the critical years between young adulthood and middle age.
As part of this study, titled Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA), researchers measured the body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference of over 5,000 participants ages 18 to 30. A higher BMI and larger waist size (an indicator of belly fat) are linked to a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health conditions. Over the course of the study additional measurements were taken at 3 to 5 year intervals over the next two decades, and the participants were also asked to complete detailed questionnaires about their exercise habits at each of these follow-up points.
At the end of the 20 year study, the participants who maintained a consistently high level of activity and exercise were able to significantly blunt (by 6-13 pounds on average) the amount of weight gain over the years. The moral here, of course, is that exercise and maintaining a high level of activity as we enter middle age is even more important in fighting the "spare tire" effect and curbing exposure to heart disease.
HealthCentral.com has a specific page (which you can find here) for those who want to closely track their BMI, and if you need help and/or more information about diet and exercise I recommend HealthCentral's MyDietExercise.com. I hope everyone has an enjoyable, and healthy, beginning of the new year.
Published On: December 28, 2010