It’s no secret that obesity is a public health issue that plagues many North Americans. In fact, recent studies show that abdominal girth and metabolic syndrome are the new silent killers, replacing hypertension.
According to an article published by Florida Atlantic University and a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Metabolic Syndrome is defined as having three or more of the following risk factors: abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, abnormal lipids and insulin resistance; a precursor of type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, the article states that being overweight and/or obese both contribute to metabolic syndrome, which affects one in three adults (ages 40 and older).
According to the study’s author, Dr. Charles H. Hennekens, obesity has taken over smoking as the leading avoidable cause of premature death in the U.S. and worldwide. In fact, Metabolic Syndrome, which is typically asymptomatic, is now being referred to as the “silent killer” as it is under-diagnosed and under-treated.
How to find out if you are at risk:
Metabolic Syndrome can be detected through girth measurements. For optimal health, the waist should measure less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women.
The researchers suggest that medical professionals use visceral fat and waist circumference as predictors of health, instead of the Body Mass Index (BMI). Reason being: you can have a normal BMI and still be at risk for Metabolic Syndrome.
Prevention should start early
Studies show that obesity is becoming more prevalent among youth. Therefore, prevention needs to begin at an earlier age. Researchers say that adolescents are more obese and less active than their parents, putting them at a higher risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life. Furthermore, statistics show that children and adolescents in the U.S. will have higher mortality rates than their parents due to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.
The authors of the study concluded that the American diet and lifestyle are becoming the leading cause of death worldwide.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 2/3 of adults ages 20 or older are overweight or obese, with body mass indexes (BMI) greater than 25, while nearly 1/3 have BMI’s greater than 30. Less than 1/3 are at a healthy weight with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.
If you have any of the above risk factors, you may want to consider eating more avocados.
According to a separate study, avocados contain properties that could potentially reverse and/or prevent metabolic syndrome.
This delicious green fruit provides the most beneficial effects on lipid profiles, with changes to LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, total cholesterol and phospholipids. The peel, seed, flesh and leaves of avocados have their own unique effects on components of metabolic syndrome.
“Avocado is a well-known source of carotenoids, minerals, phenolics, vitamins, and fatty acids,” said the authors of the Phytotherapy Research review. “The lipid-lowering, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, anti-atherosclerotic, and cardio-protective effects of avocado have been demonstrated in several studies.”
Try this delicious, avocado-based recipe:
1 piece of whole grain toast
1 egg (sunny side up)
1/2 of an avocado
salt & pepper
While bread is toasting, cut an avocado in half and cook an egg in a frying pan on the stove top. Once the toast and egg are ready, spread 1/2 of an avocado on top of the warm toast. Top with an egg, salt and pepper.
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