Do you know there is a strong relationship between increasing Body Mass Index (BMI) and Hypertension?
Overweight and Hypertension, both have independent fatal health consequences as they carry serious risk factors for several non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Type II Diabetes mellitus and may even decrease the life expectancy.
Blood pressure (BP) has been found to increase among the population with high BMI. For sake of knowledge – High blood pressure (hypertension) is determined by systolic/ diastolic blood pressure of > 140/90 mm Hg. As per WHO. BMI < 18.5 falls in underweight category, while a BMI =/> 25 is overweight and BMI> 30 is obese.
Overweight kills more people than being underweight
Obesity is an abnormally high amount of adipose tissue compared with lean muscle mass (>20% over ideal weight) and is due to a combination of elements including genetic, environmental, socio-economical and psychological factors. Though bodybuilders may have a high BMI that does not correlate with a high ratio of adipose tissues.
It has been found that both mean systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure are higher among subjects with increased BMI. Lower BP was found among underweight and maximum among obese people. Also studies suggest that the prevalence of hypertension is higher in males in comparison to female population. Weight gain results when caloric intake exceeds energy expenditure which is primarily determined by basal metabolic rate (BMR). A positive caloric balance is stored by the body as fat in adipocytes, in the form of triglycerides.
It has been found that regular physical exercise increases energy consumption not only during the period of exercise but also up to 18 hours afterwards. It is only during fast (calories restriction) without exercise leads to reduction in BMR as body has to conserve energy. Reduced BMR slows the weight loss during the dieting phase but rapid weight gain when normal caloric intake is resumed. Hence it is suggested to take small potions of healthy meals after every 2 hours of duration.
It is currently accepted that waist to hip ratio of > 1 in men and > 0.8 in women is a strong predictor of ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes and reduced life expectancy. BMI and waist circumference are considered as the most important anthropometric indicators to investigate the risk factors for hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other obesity-related diseases. In clinically severe obesity, cardiac function is best at rest and exercise is poorly tolerated.
Since the prevalence of obesity is increasing so does associated health care costs. There is limited information on the control of body mass but can use the following tips to maintain body weight and leading an active life-sedentary free life can reduce chances of Hypertension.
Food Pyramid helps in planning ideal food intake:
- Set your diet plan which should include fresh and seasonal fruits
- High fibre foods– Fibres are required by the body but it is neither digested nor absorbed by the body. There are two different types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber slows digestion which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar, while insoluble fiber remains unchanged thus making stool/ waste softer and heavier. Fibres regulate the speed of digestion and contribute to the feeling of fullness (satiety), thus reducing the food intake.
- Do try intermittent fasting either for a week or for a day per week
- Fruits like apples, banana, orange, strawberries, pear, mango and avocado etc. Fruits are rich in nutrients like minerals, vitamins and fibres.
- Vegetables like carrots, spinach, gourd, roasted potato, beets etc.
- Beans and legumes as these are fibre filled.
- Seeds like chia seeds and flex seeds
- Popcorns are considered as whole grain
- Daily exercise or walking