Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


More evidence that bmi is past its sell-by date

I’ve posted on this previously but there’s more research out that suggests that waist-height ratios are a more reliable health indicator than bmi.

bmi doesn’t differentiate between fat and muscle and distorts the results for very short and very tall people.

The danger levels are as follows (for men and women of average fitness):

5′ tall? waist no more than 35.25″

5′ 3″ tall? waist should be no more than 36″

5′ 6″ tall? waist shouldn’t be more than 37.25″

5′ 9″ tall? waist no more than 38″

6′ tall? waist should be less than 38.5″

6′ 3″ tall? waist shouldn’t be more than 39.5″

A 40-year study in Copenhagen published in 2016 found that people with bmi’s of 27 lived the longest – although they were technically overweight.

And a study in Sweden published in 2009 found that women with an extra 4″ of fat round the waist were 15% more likely to die from heart failure despite being of “normal” weight.

It’s because belly fat is more dangerous to health than subcutaneous fat as it surrounds more vital organs. See post on body shape.

Here’s one of many waist-height ratio calculators you can try.

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If you really have to make new year resolutions..

here are some sensible ones from Dr Mark Porter who writes for the Times (with my own comments added):looking_in_mirror_1600_wht_5647

  1. Get a tape measure and measure your waist. This should be less than half your height to maintain good health. Body Mass Index (bmi) is so out-of-date as I’ve written before.
  2. Buy a blood pressure monitor as one in three of us develops high blood pressure which often requires lifelong treatment. Taking your BP at home may be more accurate than if taken in a stressful environment such as a hospital or GP’s surgery (the well-known white coat effect).
  3. Buy a petrol car next time as diesel has been proved to be dirtier fuel and unhealthy in built-up areas
  4. Learn what sepsis looks like. Blood poisoning or septicaemia as it was once called kills thousands of people a year. It typically starts with bacterial infections of the chest, abdomen, or urinary tract. You can get it at any age and it often mimics flu or gastroenteritis. Doing a SEPSIS test means looking for Slurred speech,Extreme shivering or muscle aches, Passing no urine (in a day), Severe breathlessness, “I feel like I might die”, Skin mottled or discoloured and any rash that doesn’t blanch under pressure from glass tumbler.
  5. Check your heart age. Go to nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check/pages/check-your-heart-age-tool.aspx or download a free heart risk app fromwww.jbs3risk.com. These might prompt you to change your diet and lifestyle habits.
  6. Eat more nuts. More evidence that a good intake of nuts (no more than a handful a day but not salted peanuts) is associated with a longer, healthier life. I’ve blogged about nuts before.
  7. Get stronger. Build strength as strong muscles are good for arthritis and thinning bones, reduce the risk of falling and can prevent pain. Exercise is good at any age but don’t overdo it.
  8. Make Saturday at home an internet-free day. Get people off the screens and doing something together. Why not the whole weekend? In France they have banned firms e-mailing staff outside working hours which is a good move as well.
  9. Cook more. Use fresh food rather than relying on processed food. And invest in the future by teaching your kids.
  10. Give up vaping. Although less hazardous than smoking the long-term inhalation of glycols is bound to have some impact on your lungs. Some experts say it helps people give up smoking. Fine but don’t keep on vaping. In any case people who vape in public look like prats.


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Waistline should be half your height

ulearn2bu

apple_measure_tape_1600_wht_13129There is now further evidence on this from research carried out by Cass Business School at the University of London. It claims to be the first study to analyse official health records to measure the impact on life expectancy on obesity as measured by the ratio between your waist and height.

This is clearly not true as I posted about this in May 2013 describing research at Oxford Brookes University which also looked at the Health & Lifestyle survey, which goes back to 1984, and the Health Survey for England which studies 8,000 people every year.

Leaving these academic institutions to fight it out the results from both studies have the same message: your waistline – as measured at the narrowest point without breathing in – should be half your height or less. So a person who is 5′ 10″ should have a waist of no…

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I’m so lonely, I could die

ulearn2bu

stick_figure_liking_it_500_wht_9170It’s not only the elderly who suffer from loneliness.

Scientists at the University of North Carolina now believe that a teenagers are just as much at risk.

Isolation can cause harmful changes to the body in adolescents just as in the elderly. Those with fewer friends are significantly more likely to have high levels of inflammation and higher blood pressure when they reach adulthood.

The scientists examined four age groups to find out why lonely people die earlier and are more susceptible to many diseases.

A large group of 12 – 18 year olds were asked about their friends and 8 years later had their blood pressure, bmi, and a test to measure inflammation. Social isolation made the teenagers 27% more likely to have high inflammation, a sign of biological stress, in their early adulthood.

A professor of sociology at the university, Kathleen Harris, said scientists had been concerned with the…

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Apples and pears – what fruit is your bum?

LV4_1-2It’s no longer just a question of “Does my bum look big in this?” but “what fruit is my bum?”

Apparently pear-shaped women, such as Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez, are more at risk of developing dementia than apple-shaped women, such as Catherine Zeta Jones.

Obesity is known to be bad for your health but it’s not just whether or not you have put on weight but where it goes. Pear-shaped women tend to put weight on their hips whereas apple-shaped women develop a spare tyre round their middle.

When tested using a standard memory test for dementia researchers found that the higher your body-mass index (BMI) the lower your test scores and the pears were worse affected than the apples.

Different types of fat have different effects on us in relation to high blood pressure and diabetes and they are deposited in different parts of the body. Fat may also contribute to the brain deposits associated with Alzeimer’s or restrict blood flow in the brain.

The bottom line is that being overweight is bad for us.