Health News: Chronic Disease Risk Factors

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that “metabolically healthy obese” people, a subset of obese individuals who were initially thought to not be at high risk of heart and other chronic diseases, still might have elevated health risks.

Study author Kristine Faerch from the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhagen states that while it was once thought that it was not unhealthy to be overweight or obese if you lived a healthful lifestyle, newer research suggests that this is not the case.1 Overweight and obese individuals face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To lower risk, maintaining a healthy weight throughout the lifecycle is vital.

Faerch and her team of researchers evaluated data from over 6,200 men and women that joined a Danish study wherein they were tracked for over 10 years. The subjects’ initial BMIs and risk factors for heart disease (including HDL a.k.a. “healthy” cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, triglycerides, and blood glucose) were all monitored. “Metabolically healthy” subjects had none of these risks, while “metabolically unhealthy” subjects were defined as having at least one risk factor. In the follow up period, 323 subjects developed heart disease. Men who were metabolically healthy but obese had 3 times the risk of heart disease when compared to metabolically healthy men at a normal weight. Women that were metabolically healthy but obese had double the risk of heart disease. Overweight men that were metabolically healthy had equivalent risk as their normal weight counterparts. Overweight women had a slightly higher risk than normal weight subjects. The authors note that only 3% of male and female subjects were obese, but considered metabolically healthy. Over a 5-year period, 40% of those considered metabolically healthy became metabolically unhealthy.

Joshua Bell from the UK’s University of Bristol was not surprised by these results. He and his colleagues published a paper this past February which noted that obesity increases age-related disability and decline, even in metabolically healthy individuals.2 His research found that after 2 decades, physical ability declined two times more while pain increased six times more in obese individuals when compared to normal weight individuals. Bell further stresses that heart disease is not the only risk factor to consider when discussing healthy aging.

Matthias Schulze at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbruecke believes that other measurements such as waist to hip ratios, waist circumference, and body fat could be explored to determine whether someone is “metabolically healthy” and obese.3 Healthy and obese can change to unhealthy and obese very quickly.

More research is needed to find how to decrease disease risk in both groups.

By Lisa Andrews, MED, RD, LD

References:

  1. Louise Hansen, MSc, Marie K Netterstrøm, MSc, Nanna B Johansen, MD, PhD, Pernille F Rønn, MSc, Dorte Vistisen, MSc, PhD, Lise LN Husemoen, MSc, PhD, Marit E Jørgensen, MD, PhD, Naja H Rod, MSc, PhD, DMSc, Kristine Færch, MSc, PhD. Metabolically healthy obesity and ischemic heart disease: a 10-year follow-up of the Inter99 study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab jc.2016-3346. Published March 7, 2017.
  2. J A Bell, S Sabia, A Singh-Manoux, M Hamer, and M Kivimäki. Healthy obesity and risk of accelerated functional decline and disability. International Journal of Obesity advance online publication 14 March 2017; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.51.
  3. Kristin Mühlenbruch, Tonia Ludwig, Charlotte Jeppesen, Hans-Georg Joost, Wolfgang Rathmann
    Christine Meisinger, Annette Peters, Heiner Boeing, Barbara Thorand, Matthias B. Schulze. Update of the German Diabetes Risk Score and external validation in the German MONICA/KORA study. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. June 2014 Volume 104, Issue 3, Pages 459–466.

And here are a few fantastic posters to promote healthy weight management…

Sneak Peek: Weight Management PowerPoint Show

It’s time for an exclusive look at of the most popular new presentations in the Nutrition Education Store. The Just Lose 10% PowerPoint presentation covers ways to live a healthful lifestyle while successfully managing your weight. Emphasizing the latest health and nutrition research, this life-changing presentation has been a hit for many dietitians and other health educators.

Today this blog will feature 2 of the sections in this show, just for you, for free. The full rundown includes…

  • Assess Your Weight
  • Set Your Goal
  • Benefits of 10% Loss
  • Weight Control 101

This post features the Set Your Goal and Benefits of 10% Loss sections. Are you ready for this?

Why Choose 10%

Speaker’s Notes: Okay, first things first. Why choose 10%? Why is this the goal of the show? Well, the answer is twofold. One, if you’re overweight or obese, losing only 5-7% of your current body weight can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. And two, losing 10% of your body weight can decrease your heart disease risk. Both of these are key for a long and healthy life. Improve your health with a little weight management!

The First Attainable Goal

Speaker’s Notes: Another reason to set “lose 10% of your body weight” as a weight management goal is that successful weight loss requires a sustained effort over time. Quick fixes are often hard to keep up and make it easy to backslide into less healthful habits. That’s why setting a goal is so important – it gives you something to strive for. And losing 10% of your body weight is attainable and will make a significant difference to your health.

Benefits of Weight Management

Speaker’s Notes: Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of managing your weight well.

What's In It for You?

Speaker’s Notes: So, what’s in it for you? Why is it so important to reduce your weight if you’re overweight or obese? The short answer is that it’s key for your health. When you get your weight into a healthy zone, you reduce your risk of heart diseases like hypertension or even a heart attack. You also reduce your risk of stroke, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. This in turn means that you are more likely to live longer, while being less likely to have to take medications to combat these chronic conditions. Getting to skip those medications further improves your quality of life.

Even More Health Benefits

Speaker’s Notes: These are all benefits that accompany a healthful lifestyle and gradual weight loss. When you adopt a healthful lifestyle in your quest to manage your weight, you are more likely to sleep better, have more stamina, have more energy, improve your flexibility, and find it easier to do the things you love.

Do you like what you see? There’s a lot more in the show — over 35 slides of the latest research about weight management, health, and wellness. Check out the full presentation!

And here’s a PDF copy of the slides we featured today…

Just Lose 10%

 

Remember, we’re here to help you look your very best, right now. Don’t miss these other great weight management resources…

12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss

Weight Control Poster Value Set

PowerPoint: Exercise to Lose and Control Weight

Nutrition from A to Z

It’s time for an exclusive look at the handout that accompanies our awesome Nutrition from A to Z poster! How will you use your free copy?

A is for Apples. An apple a day may be a cliche, but cliches exist for a reason. You see, apples are naturally fat-free and are very low in sodium. They are also excellent sources of fiber, antioxidants, and vital nutrients like vitamin C. Try one today!

B is for Balance. MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines both emphasize the importance of balance in your life. Balance your calorie intake with physical activity, and balance your plate according to MyPlate’s proportion guidelines.

C is for Cooking. When you cook at home, you control exactly what goes into your meals. Cook healthfully with plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, lean protein, and nonfat dairy.

D is for Dairy. MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise people to choose low- or nonfat dairy when possible. The saturated fat found in dairy products is very bad for your health, especially your heart!

E is for Empty Calories. According to MyPlate, foods with empty calories are foods that contain solid fats and added sugars. They are usually calorie-dense, but these calories are very nutrient-light. Avoid foods with empty calories whenever you can — they just aren’t good for you.

F is for Fruit. MyPlate’s fruit group contains everything from stone fruits to berries to tropical rarities. Follow MyPlate’s advice and fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal.

G is for Grains. MyPlate advises people to make at least half the grains they eat whole grains, every day. In a rut? Try a new whole grain like amaranth, bulgur, or quinoa!

H is for Healthy Eating Patterns. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans insist that healthy eating patterns should meet nutrient needs at a reasonable calorie level. Stick to nutrient-dense foods whenever you can.

I is for Include Seafood. Did you know that most people should consume at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week? That’s what MyPlate suggests. Just remember to keep seafood preparations lean and sidestep breaded or fried options.

J is for Juice. If you do drink juice, be sure to choose options that are 100% fruit or vegetables. Juice is a hiding place for a surprising amount of added sugars. Don’t fall into the trap! Choose 100% juice instead.

K is for Kids. Did you know that kids need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans posts that number as the minimum for most children, so get out there and play!

L is for Lean. When you go to get your servings from the protein food group, stick to lean options. Try beans, peas, white meat poultry, or lean cuts of beef or pork.

M is for MyPlate. Follow the plate! At each meal, half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, with the rest divided equally between protein and grains. Add a bit of dairy too, and remember to keep things balanced!

N is for Nutrients. Most Americans aren’t getting enough nutrients. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people should replace foods that are made mostly of empty calories with nutrient-dense foods. Nutrients of concern in American diets include calcium, potassium, vitamin D and dietary fiber.

O is for Orange. Oranges are a nutrient powerhouse. They are full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. Eating oranges may also help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Try one today!

P is for Protein. MyPlate’s protein group is filled with meat, nuts, poultry, seeds, seafood, eggs, beans, and peas. Eat a wide variety of lean options daily.

Q is for Quality of Life. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “Achieving and sustaining appropriate body weight across the lifespan is vital to maintaining good health and quality of life” (2010, page 8).

R is for Reduced Risk. MyPlate claims that eating fruits and vegetables will reduce your risk of heart disease. That’s just one more reason to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at each meal.

S is for Sodium. Most people are consuming way too much sodium. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise people to keep sodium consumption below 2300 mg per day. People who are African American, are over 51, or who have hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease should all consume less than 1500 mg of sodium per day.

T is for Tomato. Tomatoes are filled with key nutrients to improve your health. They are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and K, and also contain fiber and several B vitamins.

U is for Unique. Did you know that beans and peas are unique foods? MyPlate counts them as both a vegetable and a protein, so tally them where you need them the most!

V is for Variety. While portion sizes should stay small, it is important to eat a variety of fresh and healthful foods. Don’t fall into the rut of eating the same foods over and over — you could be missing out on nutrients! Look for new and nutritious foods to try each day.

W is for Water. One of MyPlate’s key consumer messages is to replace sugary drinks like soda and sport beverages with water. Water is essential to health, and many people don’t drink enough of it.

X is for eXplanation. Do you want more details about healthful eating and balanced nutrition? Visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information about MyPlate. Or, drop by www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines for a closer look at the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Y is for Yogurt. Yogurt is a great source of calcium, but make sure that it doesn’t overload you with sugar and fat. Stick to low- or nonfat options, and check sugar content to make sure it isn’t too high.

Z is for Zone. Keep foods out of the danger zone. Food that has been sitting out at 40-140 degrees F for more than 2 hours is no longer safe to eat.

Like what you see? Here’s the free handout! Normally you can only get this when you get the Nutrition from A to Z poster, but we’re making an exception for you today!

Nutrition from A to Z Handout

But wait, there’s more! Check out these great nutrition education posters that will help you look your very best, right now!

Nutrition Poster Set

Whole Grain Poster

12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Control Posters

Suddenly It’s Real

It’s different when it happens to you.

I’ve been teaching fitness and wellness topics for many years. I’ve taught heart-healthy cooking, strong bone nutrition, dining with diabetes, and lots of general healthful eating strategies. I’ve seen people get frustrated as they try to understand conflicting dietary recommendations. I’ve seen people struggle to make major lifestyle changes as a result of a medical diagnosis. Nothing seems to make people more serious about a dietary change than a sudden health event. But nothing you can teach makes this more real than when it’s your family.

Last September, when I was on my way home from a conference, I got a phone call. My husband had had a heart attack.

He survived.

We were lucky. Statistics show that 1 in 4 deaths in the United States are a result of heart disease. After four nights in the hospital, three ambulance rides, two stents, and one drug reaction, my husband was finally released from the hospital. Ultimately, we were sent home with little fanfare. There were some packets and informational materials, but that was it. We were on our own.

Included in the pile of computer printout packets were four pages titled “Cardiac Diet.” Now, I have been teaching this topic for years, so I didn’t feel like I was completely unknowledgeable. But I was sure that there was more to this. Maybe there was something I missed in all the classes I’ve taken.  After all, this wasn’t just “reducing risk factors” and other classroom subjects. This was the real thing. My husband had had a heart attack.

I was hoping that a registered dietitian could tell me more. I wanted specifics. I wanted calories, grams, and milligrams. I wanted more than a list of foods that were “allowed” and other foods to “avoid.” You can’t eat like that, I thought. So, I asked if we could talk with a dietitian.

Unfortunately, because we live in a small rural community, there was no dietitian on staff for that.

Suddenly, I’m looking at this from the inside out. I’m not blaming the hospital, the doctors, or the nurses; they have enough on their plate already. But, I don’t think I’m an exception to the rule. I think that there are lots of folks out there who want more than a piece of paper and they want a step by step lesson for what to do. If you think about what you teach in this manner you can make more effective materials.

Thank goodness for those of you who do have the time to teach cooking, do consultations, and offer classes on cardiac rehabilitation diets. Please keep up the good work. I’m joining the charge. In fact, I’m currently looking for a grant so that I can teach some heart-healthy cooking classes in my community.

So now it’s real. My husband and I are learning a lot about heart disease, and I’m looking at it from an entirely different perspective. Here are some very helpful cooking handouts that can help folks make healthier foods. And here is a free handout for an overview of a heart healthy diet: EatRightHeart

More tips to come!

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

From the Nutrition Education Store Staff:

You don’t have to create all the materials to communicate key heart health messages by yourself. Let us do it for you! Here are some of the most popular heart health educational materials…

Lower Your Heart Attack Risk Brochure

Heart Health Poster Value Set

Heart Healthy Cooking PowerPoint