Breaking News
December 10, 2018 - UC San Diego professor receives NCI Outstanding Investigator Award for cancer research
December 10, 2018 - Study evaluates placental mesenchymal stem cell sheets for myocardial repair and regeneration
December 10, 2018 - Blueprint Medicines Announces Updated Results from Ongoing EXPLORER Clinical Trial of Avapritinib Demonstrating Broad Clinical Activity and Significant Symptom Reductions in Patients with Systemic Mastocytosis
December 10, 2018 - Study clarifies ApoE4’s role in dementia
December 10, 2018 - Neuronal activity in the brain allows prediction of risky or safe decisions
December 10, 2018 - FDA Alerts Health Care Professionals and Patients Not to Use Drug Products Intended to be Sterile from Promise Pharmacy
December 10, 2018 - Improving dementia care and treatment saves thousands of pounds in care homes
December 10, 2018 - Heroin-assisted treatment can offer benefits, reduce harms
December 10, 2018 - People covered by Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program report improvements in health, finds study
December 10, 2018 - Hazelnuts improve micronutrient levels in older adults
December 9, 2018 - History of Partner Violence Tied to Menopause Symptoms
December 9, 2018 - Clean Up Safely After a Disaster|Natural Disasters and Severe Weather
December 9, 2018 - Drug wholesalers drove fentanyl’s deadly rise, report concludes
December 9, 2018 - Deprescribing could help manage polypharmacy in older adults
December 9, 2018 - Retraction of article “Joy of cooking too much” from journal
December 9, 2018 - FDA Warns of Rare Stroke Risk With MS Drug Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab)
December 9, 2018 - Feds say heroin, fentanyl remain biggest drug threat to US
December 9, 2018 - Eliminating microglia can reverse some aspects of stress sensitization, study shows
December 9, 2018 - New genetic insight could help treat rare debilitating heart and lung condition
December 9, 2018 - MiRagen Therapeutics Announces Final Safety, Biodistribution and Clinical Efficacy Data From Phase 1 Cobomarsen Clinical Trial in Patients With Mycosis Fungoides
December 9, 2018 - Work with your doctor to weigh pros, cons of treatment options for hyperthyroidism
December 9, 2018 - CWRU researcher secures $14.6 million funding for genetic study into Alzheimer’s disease
December 9, 2018 - High intensity statin treatment and adherence could save more lives
December 9, 2018 - Surgery patients use only 1/4 of prescribed opioids, and prescription size matters
December 9, 2018 - AXT offers Phi Optics upgrade to QPI systems for inverted light microscopes
December 9, 2018 - New booklet could help improve conditions of young pupils with albinism
December 9, 2018 - Few Physicians Work in Practices That Use Telemedicine
December 9, 2018 - Older Adults and Oral Health
December 9, 2018 - Health utility values improve after septorhinoplasty
December 9, 2018 - New EU-funded project provides insight into how the brain develops
December 9, 2018 - Expanded use of tele-emergency services can help strengthen rural hospitals
December 9, 2018 - Infections in the Young May Be Tied to Risk for Mental Illness: Study
December 9, 2018 - Profile: Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
December 9, 2018 - Snoring poses greater cardiac risk to women
December 9, 2018 - Researcher takes further steps in understanding how and why cute aggression occurs
December 9, 2018 - Researchers create new light-activated tools for controlling neurons
December 9, 2018 - Spinal cord injury disrupts the body’s internal clock, study shows
December 9, 2018 - Babies recognize nested structures similar to our grammar
December 9, 2018 - UT Austin researcher receives $2.5 million CZI grant for neurodegenerative disease research
December 9, 2018 - Sleep problems found to be prevalent and increasing among college students
December 9, 2018 - Study reveals why some children are susceptible to the effects of maltreatment
December 9, 2018 - Study investigates influence of different opioids on driving performance
December 9, 2018 - Jazz Pharmaceuticals Announces First Patient Enrolled in Phase 3 Clinical Trial Evaluating JZP-258 for the Treatment of Idiopathic Hypersomnia
December 9, 2018 - Eliminating microglia prevents heightened immune sensitivity after stress
December 9, 2018 - Boys with social difficulties are at greatest risk of early substance use
December 9, 2018 - ‘Wrong’ connective tissue cells linked to worse prognosis in breast cancer patients
December 8, 2018 - Chronic, refractory schizophrenia patients benefit from targeted cognitive training
December 8, 2018 - Advertising in kids’ apps more prevalent than parents may realize
December 8, 2018 - New way to trace the transmission histories of rare genetic diseases
December 8, 2018 - ASH: A+CHP Bests CHOP for Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma
December 8, 2018 - Results of pediatric genomic epilepsy tests often reclassified
December 8, 2018 - New way of controlling HIV latency to completely eradicate the virus
December 8, 2018 - Phasefocus to showcase the Livecyte 2 at ASCB
December 8, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Is health spending the next big political issue?
December 8, 2018 - Mussels take in microplastic pollution fibers and flush most of them out again
December 8, 2018 - AHA: How to Stop Smoking … for Good
December 8, 2018 - Scientists overturn odds to make Parkinson’s discovery
December 8, 2018 - Health benefits of producing marula vinegar
December 8, 2018 - Failure of critical cellular energy sensor responsible for CKD progression, study finds
December 8, 2018 - Ethnicity can be reliable indicator of gut microbiota diversity
December 8, 2018 - Safe Sleep for Baby | NIH News in Health
December 8, 2018 - Study looks at ways technology can support nutritional needs of Parkinson’s patients
December 8, 2018 - Infant milk allergy is being overdiagnosed say experts
December 8, 2018 - Graphene may one day be used to test for ALS
December 8, 2018 - Houston Methodist launches real-time website to track flu cases
December 8, 2018 - RedHill Announces Positive Top-Line Results from Confirmatory Phase 3 Study with Talicia for H. pylori Infection
December 8, 2018 - A way to measure obesity and health beyond BMI
December 8, 2018 - New diagnostic tools may help identify breast cancer patients who could benefit from targeted therapies
December 8, 2018 - Duke-NUS researchers highlight possible role of bioaerosol sampling in pandemic surveillance
December 8, 2018 - Study quantifies links between alcohol, drug use and violent deaths
December 8, 2018 - Mothers’ stress levels at conception linked to child’s response to life challenges at age 11
December 8, 2018 - MIT researchers develop antimicrobial peptides from South American wasp’s venom
December 8, 2018 - Obesity prevention among low-income, diverse preschool-aged children and parents
December 8, 2018 - Mount Sinai researcher awarded $2.5 million to advance understanding of neurodegenerative diseases
December 8, 2018 - CZI announces funding for open-source software efforts to improve image analysis in biomedicine
December 8, 2018 - New book encompasses the vast history of reproduction
December 8, 2018 - Low-income women in Texas are not receiving contraception after childbirth, study shows
December 8, 2018 - Study expands knowledge about sexuality and gender gaps in political attitudes
December 8, 2018 - Drug reduces hot flash frequency, improves quality of life in breast cancer survivors
December 8, 2018 - Imaging, Biopsy Often Still Needed After Mastectomy
Just because you’re thin, it doesn’t mean you’re healthy

Just because you’re thin, it doesn’t mean you’re healthy

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Being thin doesn’t mean you can eat unhealthy foods and get away with it. Credit: www.shutterstock.com

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 63% of Australian adults are overweight or obese.

But it’s much harder to estimate how many are within a healthy weight range but have poor diets or sedentary lifestyles. These can cause significant health problems that will often be missed because the person appears to look “healthy”.

How do we judge the health of weight?

Obesity statistics often take estimates of body fat using body mass index (BMI). Although BMI isn’t perfectly correlated with body fat percentage, it’s a quick and easy method for collecting data using just the person’s height and weight. If the BMI is higher than 25, a person is considered “overweight”. If it’s above 30, they’re considered “obese”. But BMI doesn’t tell us how healthy someone is on the inside.

Using additional lifestyle measures, such as diet and exercise frequency over the last year, a recent report from the Queensland Health department estimated 23% of those who are not currently overweight or obese are at risk of being so in the future.

These figures indicate that the percentage of unhealthy-weight individuals does not accurately capture the percentage of unhealthy-lifestyle individuals, with the latter number likely to be much higher.

If you’re not overweight, does a healthy lifestyle matter?

Many people think if they’re able to stay lean while eating poorly and not exercising, then that’s OK. But though you might appear healthy on the outside, you could have the same health concerns as overweight and obese individuals on the inside.

When considering risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke or cancer, we often think about health indicators such as smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, and body weight. But poor diet and physical inactivity also each increase the risk for heart disease and have a role to play in the development of some cancers.

So even if you don’t smoke and you’re not overweight, being inactive and eating badly increases your risk of developing heart disease.

Little research has been done to compare the risk diet and exercise contributes to the development of heart disease in overweight versus skinny but unhealthy individuals. However, one study measured the risk of different lifestyle factors associated with complications following acute coronary syndrome – a sudden reduction in blood flow to the heart.

It found adherence to a healthy diet and exercise regime halved the risk of having a major complication (such as stroke or death) in the six months following the initial incident compared with non-adherence.

Unhealthy diets are bad for your body, but what about your brain?

Recent research has also shown overconsumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods may have negative effects on your brain, causing learning and memory deficits. Studies have found obesity is associated with impairments in cognitive functioning, as assessed by a range of learning and memory tests, such as the ability to remember a list of words previously presented some minutes or hours earlier.

Notably, this relationship between body weight and cognitive functioning was present even after controlling for a range of factors including education level and existing medical conditions.

Of particular relevance to this discussion is the growing body of evidence that diet-induced cognitive impairments can emerge rapidly—within weeks or even days. For example, a study conducted at Oxford University found healthy adults assigned to a high-fat diet (75% of energy intake) for five days showed impaired attention, memory, and mood compared to a low-fat diet control group.

Another study conducted at Macquarie University also found eating a high-fat and high-sugar breakfast each day for as little as four days resulted in learning and memory deficits similar to those observed in overweight and obese individuals.

These findings confirm the results of rodent studies showing specific forms of memories can be impaired after only a few days on a diet containing sugar water and human “junk” foods such as cakes and biscuits.

Body weight was not hugely different between the groups eating a healthy diet and those on high fat and sugar diets. So this shows negative consequences of poor dietary intake can occur even when body weight has not noticeably changed. These studies show body weight is not always the best predictor of internal health.

We still don’t know much about the mechanism(s) through which these high-fat and high-sugar foods impair cognitive functioning over such short periods. One possible mechanism is the changes to blood glucose levels from eating high-fat and high-sugar foods. Fluctuations in blood glucose levels may impair glucose metabolism and insulin signalling in the brain.

Many people use low body weight to excuse unhealthy eating and physical inactivity. But body weight is not the best indicator of internal well-being. A much better indicator is your diet. When it comes to your health, it’s what’s on the inside that counts and you really are what you eat.


Explore further:
I’m not overweight, so why do I need to eat healthy foods?

Provided by:
The Conversation

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles