Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hamilton Health Symposium II

Although waist circumference (WC) does not distinguish between subcutaneous and visceral fat (or a person's frame size), research shows that WC is highly correlated with visceral fat. Furthermore, Kuk et al. (2006) showed that "Visceral fat is an independent predictor of all cause mortality in men." Accordingly, WC should be taken very seriously and become another target of health promotion and disease prevention.

However, when a person is put on an exercise program, we must be careful not to put too much emphasis on weight loss. It may be surprising to know that a "fit" overweight person may have a lower risk of disease than an "unfit" normal weight person. Research has shown that, "low cardiorespiratory fitness was a strong and independent predictor of CVD and all-cause mortality and of comparable importance with that of diabetes mellitus and other CVD risk factors." (1)

The key here (from a Kinesiologists perspective) is the benefits of attaining some cardiovascular fitness. If you are interested, look up Dr. Robert Ross (from Queens University) who has recently published many papers on the necessity of exercise/physical activity for the prevention or management (in the case of diabetes) of many diseases far beyond what diet alone can do.

1. Wei et al. Relationship between low cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality in normal-weight, overweight, and obese men. JAMA 1999; 282:1547-53.

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