More than 500 million people globally are affected by obesity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is defined and characterized concerning BMI (as cited in Alpert, Lavie, Agrawal, Aggarwal, & Kumar, 2014). Obesity is a serious public health problem whose prevalence has remained exponentially high. Central obesity, which is the focus of this paper, refers to a waist circumference of >102cm in men and >88cm in women. In addition, central obesity can be determined by a waist-to-hip ratio of > 0.9 in men and 0.85 in women. Abdominal fat, which translates to central obesity is the indicator of impaired glucose tolerance and is a major risk factor for various obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The obesity paradox presented by Haslam (2014) emphasizes the need for adopting healthy lifestyle measures to prevent obesity. Apparently, a 5% increment in heart failure in men and 7% in women is attributed to an increase in BMI by 1 unit. Intriguing insight indicates that once these chronic diseases occur, the converse is the case.
Abdominal fat, otherwise called visceral fat, refers to the fat deposits found between the liver and the kidneys, and are packed into the abdominal cavity. Even though abdominal fat is imperative for survival during a famine, it is a preceding factor for serious health conditions. However, this fat is dependent on lifestyle management due to an interplay of appetite-regulating gut hormones, diet, and physical activity. Hence, it is not just a matter of balancing energy intake with energy expenditure. Genetics also plays a fundamental role in determining the occurrence of obesity and this is attributed to the polymorphism, which occurs during the gene encoding process of neuropeptide Y (Watson, 2014). Nowadays, there are some theories put forth to explain the occurrence of central obesity and mechanisms to prevent it. New insight from Davis (2011) indicates that the activities of agribusiness and genetics have modified the food production processes. The argument by Davis (2011) could be a reason for unresolved high prevalence and incidence rates of obesity. According to him, the elimination of wheat has proved effective on some occasions. On the other hand, other scholars might argue that an unhealthy environment full of unhealthy advertisements is a reason for the high stagnant rates of central obesity.
With the contradictory novel insights, all healthcare workers, academicians, and researchers must converge and review their ideas to come up with ultimate truths/facts. Later on, campaigns and health promotion brochures and pamphlets should be disseminated to inform the public. In addition, supermarket stalls should be fitted with health-related connotations, as suggested by Haslam (2014), to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015) has indicated an indirect relationship between obesity and socioeconomic status; hence, government initiatives to subsidize the prices of fruits and vegetables while increasing those of high calorie but low nutrient-dense foods. Communities and especially those with a high prevalence of obesity and central obesity should be continually educated on healthy living because prevention of the condition has far-reaching benefits.
As I had mentioned earlier, lifestyle management is critical in regulating the accumulation of visceral fat. Therefore, when developing my health plan, I will focus on diet and physical activity. Physical activity is important because it enhances insulin sensitivity; hence, permitting glucose effectiveness. My consumption of selected foods based on the recommendations will be regular and frequent to enhance insulin sensitivity as well (Chatham, 2012).
I will, therefore, carefully select my diet to include foods that have an evidence-based effect on abdominal fat. Hence, I will include soy protein and soy pastes because they have a counteractive effect on the occurrence of obesity. A study by Sites et al. (2007) indicated that soy supplements prevented increases in visceral fat because they improve insulin sensitivity and enhance glucose effectiveness.
In addition to Davis’ (2011) recommendation of restricting wheat intake, I will also follow Chatham’s (2012) recommendation of limiting the intake of carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods. Instead, I will adopt a high protein and fiber intake by adopting a diet high in plant foods and limited in caloric content.
I will continuously monitor my weight and refrain from using alcohol and coffee while restricting my intake of wheat-based products.
I will work hard towards maintaining regular sleep patterns and ensuring that I get adequate sleep. Adequate sleep helps to regulate leptin and ghrelin levels, both of which are important in the management of belly fat. In addition, I will adopt healthy stress coping mechanisms as well as maintain an adequate consumption of fish oils because they are shown to reduce signs and symptoms defining depression and stress. This could be attributed to studies that have shown positive associations between consumption of oily fish and omega-3 rich foods and loss of body fat.
Well, it is clear that obesity is a serious public health issue. Belly fat, which is the most common, yet the most bemoaned type of obesity, predisposes individuals to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Following a personal health plan, which I intend to do, will help me to maintain healthy body weight and composition.
Alpert, M., Lavie, C., Agrawal, L., Aggarwal, K., & Kumar, S. (2014). Obesity and heart failure: Epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, and management. Translational Research, 164(4), 345-356.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2015). Adult Obesity Facts. Atlanta: CDC.
Chatham, J. (2012). The Belly Fat Diet: Lose Your Belly, Shed Excess Weight, Improve Health. Berkeley: Rockridge University Press.
Davis, W. (2011). Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. New York: Rodale Inc.
Haslam, D. (2014). Obesity in primary care: Prevention, management and the paradox. BMC Medicine, 12, 149. Web.
Sites, C., Cooper, B., Toth, M., Gastaldelli, A., Arabshahi, A., & Barnes, S. (2007). Effect of a daily supplement of soy protein on body composition and insulin secretion in postmenopausal women. Fertility and Sterility, 88(6), 1609-1617.
Watson, R. (Ed). (2014). Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Abdominal Obesity. London: Elsevier Inc.