Articles on body shape

What Is Your Ideal Body Weight?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
One of the most common things most people seem to obsess about is their weight. Teenagers wanting to look slim, spouses wanting to look better for each other, people trying to get healthier, everyone has their own reasons. Where we often go wrong is setting our benchmark based on the people around us. Ideal Body Weight is the weight that is supposed to be most healthy for a person. This value is different for different people, so trying to lose weight just because yours is higher than someone you know can be dangerous. There are several factors that are considered when ideal body weight for someone is decided. To know about your healthy weight in detail, let’s start with some basics:Why healthy weight important?Healthy weight lowers the risk of getting attacked by lifestyle diseases.Helps you to feel good about yourselfIt keeps your energy levels high.How much should I weigh?There are many ways to calculate healthy weight of an individual.Some of them are listed below-:IBW=Ideal body weightBMI=Body Mass IndexWHR=Waist Hip RatioBODY FAT %So, in this article we will talking more about ideal body weight and how one can achieve it.Ideal body weight!(IBW)It is nothing but a range of weights that determines if your weight is in proportion to your height and gender.One cannot compare their ideal body weight(body weight according to height in kg) with someone else’s because several factors are considered while calculating that number. Factors are age, Muscle-fat ratio,Height,Sex and Bone density.Maintaining a healthy ideal weight not only adds to your overall fitness but also reduces your susceptibility to various diseases.An overweight person is at a higher risk of developing serious health issues like diabetes and heart ailments. It’s never too late to aim to be at your ideal body weight. If you already have certain problems like high blood pressure, breathing problems, etc. maintaining a healthy body weight will help you control these diseases and in most cases the symptoms are considerably reduced.Ideal body weight according to height in kgFor Males-:IBW = 48 kg + 2.7 kg for each inch over 5 feet.For example , a male who is 5 feet 7 inch should weigh=48 +2.7*7=66.9kgFor Females-:IBW = 45.35 kg + 2.25 kg for each inch over 5 feetFor example, let's take same height for a lady ;5 feet 7 inch should weigh=45.35+2.25*7=61.1kgRisk factors-: when you are above or below your Ideal Body WeightDiabetes (Type 2): The more fat content in your cells and tissues, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.Read more about foods helpful in diabetes.High blood pressure: Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time due to accumulated fat in your arteries, it can damage the body in many ways.Coronary heart disease: CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle.Stroke: Being overweight or obese can lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form. If the clot is close to your brain, it can block the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain and cause a stroke.Certain cancers: Being overweight or obese raises your risk for colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers.Gallbladder disease: Gallstones are hard pieces of stone-like material that form in the gallbladder. They’re mostly made of cholesterol. Gallstones can cause stomach or back pain. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having gallstones. Also, being overweight may result in an enlarged gallbladder that doesn’t work well.Reproductive problems: Obesity can cause menstrual issues and infertility in women.Musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis and back pain: Osteoarthritis is a common joint problem of the knees, hips, and lower back. The condition occurs if the tissue that protects the joints wears away. Extra weight can put more pressure and wear on joints, causing pain.Gout: If you are overweight, you are putting extra pressure on your joints. This causes chemical changes in your body and that eventually leads to gout.What You Can Do?Maintaining a healthy weight is not always easy. The key to success is making changes in daily eating and physical activity levels.Our weight is a result of the combination of the energy one takes in (through foods and beverages) and the energy used up body (by engaging in physical activity). To lose weight, an individual needs to burn more calories than those consumed. Some ways to create a caloric deficit are:Spend less time in sedentary activities (e.g., watching television, internet surfing)Engage in daily physical activities (e.g., walking, bicycling, gardening, housework)Eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce food portion sizes.Therefore,you can easily achieve your ideal body weight (specific to your age, body type and lifestyle) without starving yourself, by following a balanced diet and working out regularly.          

The Importance of Maintaining an Ideal Body Weight

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Different people have different Ideal Body weights. One cannot compare their ideal body weight with someone else’s as several factors are taken into consideration when calculating that number. Since, no two persons can have the exact same age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex, and bone density at any given time, it is impossible to have one measure of what ideal body weight at a certain age should be.So, in simple words “Ideal Body Weight” is a range of weights that tells you whether YOUR weight is in proportion with YOUR height and gender. But what takes precedence over achieving an Ideal Body Weight is if the range you are targeting is the best for you. That means are you targeting a healthy goal?When we emphasize on the health aspect we mean to draw your attention towards the fact that your weight is only one measure of your health. A person who is not at a “normal” weight according to BMI charts may be healthy if he or she has healthy eating habits and exercises regularly. Whereas, people who are skinny but don’t exercise or eat nutritious foods aren’t necessarily healthy, just because they are thin. Losing fat and Losing weight don't mean the same thing.You see the BMI is a very basic calculation which just takes the person’s weight and height into consideration whereas important aspects like the person’s waist, chest or hip measurements are completely ignored. A professional sprinter may have a higher BMI than a generally lazy and inactive person if they have the same height. The major difference will be in the accumulated fat percentage in each of these individuals. While the athlete will have a thinner waist, a low body- fat percentage, a high muscle mass and a healthy body, the inactive person will have a higher body-fat percentage, bigger waist, low muscle mass and an unhealthy body. The BMI calculator will show the inactive person to have a healthier BMI than the athlete. Hence, relying solely on BMI is not going to be a comprehensive approach.Maintaining a healthy ideal weight not only adds to your overall fitness but it also keeps your susceptibility to various diseases low. An overweight person is at a higher risk of developing serious health issues which range from diabetes to heart ailments. Also, it’s never too late to aim to be at your ideal body weight even if you have been ignoring it till now. If you already have certain problems like a High blood pressure, breathing problems, etc. maintaining a healthy body weight will help you control these diseases and in most cases the symptoms are considerably reduced.The diseases which especially attack you when you are above or below your Ideal Body Weight are:Diabetes (Type 2): The more fat content in your cells and tissues, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. Having Diabetes can also increase your risk of stroke.High blood pressure: Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time due to accumulated fat in your arteries, it can damage the body in many ways. Control your high blood pressure through natural means.Coronary heart disease: CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries and reduce blood flow to the heart muscle.Stroke: Being overweight or obese can lead to a build-up of plaque in your arteries. Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture, causing a blood clot to form. If the clot is close to your brain, it can block the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain and cause a stroke.Certain cancers: Being overweight or obese raises your risk for colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers.Gall bladder disease: Gallstones are hard pieces of stone-like material that form in the gallbladder. They're mostly made of cholesterol. Gallstones can cause stomach or back pain. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having gallstones. Also, being overweight may result in an enlarged gallbladder that doesn't work well.Reproductive problems: Obesity can cause menstrual issues and infertility in women.Musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis and back pain: Osteoarthritis is a common joint problem of the knees, hips, and lower back. The condition occurs if the tissue that protects the joints wears away. Extra weight can put more pressure and wear on joints, causing pain.Gout: If you are overweight, you are putting extra pressure on your joints. This causes chemical changes in your body. Thus, it is believed that an obese person is four times more likely to get gout than a non-obese person.What You Can Do?Maintaining a healthy weight is not always easy. The key to success is making changes in daily eating and physical activity habits that can be maintained over one’s lifetime.Our weight is a result of the combination of the energy one takes in (through foods and beverages) and the energy their body uses (through engaging in physical activity). To lose weight, an individual needs to use more calories than they  consume. To maintain a healthy weight, one needs to balance the calories they use with those they take in. Some ways to create a caloric deficit are:Spend less time in sedentary activities (e.g., watching television, internet surfing)Engage in daily physical activities (e.g., walking, bicycling, gardening, housework)Eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce food portion sizes.An interesting study has highlighted gender difference amongst people trying to reach their ideal body weight. According to a study, women tend to consider ideal weight for their height and age lesser than what is medically recommended. This forces them to resort to yo-yo diets to achieve their target. On the other hand, men tend to lean towards the higher range, and to achieve that they work on building more muscle through supplements or a high protein diet.You can get your ideal body weight that is specific to your age, body type and lifestyle without having to starve yourself by following the balanced healthy diet and regular workout.

Being Thin Does Not Mean Being Healthy

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Increased body fat percentage and being overweight result in lifestyle disorders that cause heart disease, hypothyroid, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Excessive saturated fat consumption increases the cholesterol levels in the body. Certain types of fat are bad for health and some are  equally important which are commonly referred to us essential fat without which the body will fail to absorb and process nutrition in the body. Read here to know more about this.The distribution of fat varies between genetics and gender. Women tend to store more subcutaneous fat which is under their skin. Distribution of fat in women is generally in their hips and thighs area while men tend to store more fat in the middle area or the abdomen. Once the person enters adolescence the fat cells don't increase in number instead they only increase or decrease in size. Its the male and female hormone that decide the fat deposit destination in the body. For example women with big bellies are considered  to have higher levels of testosterone ( male hormone) in their system that causes fat accumulation on the stomach. While if men have large hips its due to the high levels of estrogen (female hormone) in that body part.We presume that fat people are more prone to metabolic disorder ( also known as lifestyle disorders) but a study by Ruth Loos at the Medical Research Council in the U.K. found that lean people with a specific genetic variant were equally at risk of diabetes, heart disease even though the reports confirmed lower fat percentage in the body.The subcutaneous (under the skin) fat which is deposited under the tissues doesn't cause much of metabolic disorder but fat accumulated deeper on the visceral (organs) is the main culprit that results in metabolic order diseases. So some people might be lean but the higher amount of fat percentage in their visceral can put them at risk of diabetes and heart diseases. The gene found in the study makes the body of the person collect more fat on the organs where it disturbs the normal functioning of the organs.People who possessed this type of genes had consistent high level of blood cholesterol and were insulin resistant. Visceral fat has also been associated with insulin resistance where the hormones that enable glucose to enter the cells are unable to perform this function adequately resulting in higher blood sugar levels.So its still very important to mind your eating habits and not eat fatty, processed  unhealthy food which will lead to increase in visceral fat leading to lifestyle disorders also known as metabolic disorders.Choose the fats that are healthy and improve HDL and lower the bad cholesterol to let fat accumulation at the visceral with the help of a balanced diet and exercise. Incase you want to check the percentage of visceral fat in your body you can get a  simple Body Composition Analysis done.

All You Need Is Exercise Tips for Different Body Types

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
If there are clothes available according to your body type then why not have personalized workouts that work the best with your individual body type. To make it simple we have divided the most common body shapes in women in four different categories. The categories are: pear,straight, curvy and athletic.Here are some easy tips to keep in mind when working out to get the best body shape.Pear ShapedLike an pear the body is wider from the base and thin from the top. This kind of body tends to show you heavy at the bottom. Tone up your arms and shoulders exercise to increase in size and tone down the bottom to find the balance between bottom and top. Shift the focus to the top.Straight ShapedSome women have a straight body and no curves at the top or bottom. If you have one of these bodies then you should probably start with a complete body toning program. Work out your glutes and thigh muscles to shape them up and add some curve to it. Reduce your waistline with some cardio workout and fat burning to make the top look curvaceous. Would you like your waist and top be the same ratio. Workout your deep abdominal muscle to pull in the stomach and tone up.Curvy ShapedYour bust and hips are wider than your waist line. This curvy body has curves which are fat and not muscles. Need to lose the fat. Tone your complete body to lose fat from arms, legs, thighs and chest. Do more of cardio and aerobics to burn off fat and look slim to perfect a curvaceous body type.Athletic ShapedIf you have a wider shoulder than your hips you probably fall in this category. Workout on your core muscles and work on your glutes, thighs for the perfect shape.Get to know more about exercises for great butt.For those who want to get into the technical details then here is how you can calculate your perfect figure according to your body shape. The basic formula is that your waist to hip ratio has to be 0.7. For eg: if your waist is 26 and your hips are also the same size then the ratio is 1. If your waist is 24 and hips 32 then your ratio is 0.75 which is considered a perfect ten figure.Eat the right nutrition and do the right exercise and even you can get that ten on ten figure.

Obesity: A Disease of New Era!

Dr. Shashank Shah, General Surgeon
Obesity is known to be a disease, when your body fat percentage is more than normal.Obesity is a complex multifactoral disease involving environment, family history and genetics, metabolism, behavior or habits and more.Even though genetic and hormonal factors are not under human control, obesity can be best prevented by a healthy life style which includes consumption of optimum calories and increase activity to the maximum.Reaching and staying at healthy weight is a long term challenge for people who are overweight or obese. But it is also the chance to lower your risk for other serious health problems.Scientifically approved treatment and commitment will be successful in lowering and maintaining weight and thereby lowering your long term disease risk.WHAT ARE THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO OBESITY?Excess calorie intake: - Even though it is thought that increased calories “in” and less calories “out” can treat obesity, it rarely happens .However reduction in calorie consumption is always beneficial.Sedentary lifestyle: - sedentary lifestyle not only leads to overweight and obesity but also raises your risk to coronary heart disease, increased BP , diabetes, colonic cancer and many other health problems.Environmental factors:- westernization in consuming high calorie food , and westernization in every type including use of internet, comfort, etc is the major contribution to the pandemic of obesity.Genetic factors: - Family history of diabetes and obesity does predispose the siblings to have the same disease. Genetics affect the body fat composition and distribution. Indians are more prone to have more fat even at a lower BMI and a typically prone for central / truncal obesity. Hence truncal obesity is known to contribute to metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease then just obesity alone.Endocrine factors contributing to obesity: - Various endocrine factors like Cushing’s need to be investigated in a patient with a morbid obesity before initiating treatment. Even though hypothyroidism is known to increase weight, the effects are known to reverse once the thyroid function is reverted to normal. However it is important to understand and explain that hypothyroidism when treated is rarely a cause for severe obesity.Medications: - Certain medications like corticosteroids, antidepressants, seizure medicines can induce weight gain and hence patient should be counseled to take necessary preventive measures while taking such medicines.Depression and emotional eating: Both these are known to provoke weight gain. However published reports suggest that surgical treatment of obesity can improve depression and such behavior.Ageing: - hormonal changes are known to decrease your lean body mass. Hence increase in activity is recommended as age advances.Lack of sleep: - research shows lack of sleep increases risk of obesity. Sleep helps in maintain a healthy balance of hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin) .Lack of sleep results in higher levels of blood sugars also and may increase your risk for diabetes.WHO IS AT RISK OF GETTING OVERWEIGHT & OBESE?Overweight and obesity affect people of all ages, sexes and racial/ethnic groups. This serious health problem has been growing over the last 30 years to reach almost an epidemic. Among Asian adults 76% of women & 74 % of men are overweight. This problem has not spared the children and teenagers also. Obesity has tripled among school children and teenagers, 1 in 6 between age 2 to 19 are either overweight or obese.SIGNS & SYMPTOMS YOU CAN GAUGE FOR YOURSELF.Cloths fitting tight and needing larger size.Scale showing you have gained weightHaving extra fat around waistHigher than normal BMI & waist circumferenceOnset of diabetes , hypertension , dyslipidemiaJoint painsSnoringWHAT IS BMI ?BMI is body mass index it is calculated as belowBMI = Weight in Kgs / ( Height in meters)2Asian consensus of BMI (JAPI Feb 2009)BMI:18 to 22.9 : Normal23 to 24.9 : Overweight>25: ObeseWHERE TO FIND SOLUTION FOR THIS DISEASE?You should seek treatment at expert obesity clinics with multidisciplinary team ofEndocrinologistRegistered dieticianExercise physiologistBariatric surgeonPsychiatrist/psychologistClinical social worker. 

Eat Smart and Beat Obesity

Dr. Rajat Chauhan, Physiotherapist
The AMY1 gene plays a role in obesity.Consumption of food items made from flour raises the chances of obesity in people who are carbohydrate-resistant.One of my favourite fitness mantras is: “Obesity doesn’t run in the family. The problem is that nobody runs in the family.” A March study published online in the journal Nature Genetics proves this adage wrong. You can, in fact, possibly blame your genes for obesity.The study by Mario Falchi, Philippe Froguel and colleagues at the Imperial College London, UK, in collaboration with other international institutions, showed the relationship between body weight and a gene called AMY1. This gene is responsible for salivary amylase, an enzyme in our saliva which comes in contact with food when it enters the mouth. It is the one that begins the process of starch digestion, which then continues in the gut.Starch is broken down into sugar and then digested. Foods with high starch content include grains (wheat, rice, barley, oats), potatoes, corn and beans. Grain is the basic ingredient in bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, biscuits, cookies, cakes, etc.This study looked at the levels of AMY1 present in the DNA of thousands of randomly picked people in the UK, France, Sweden and Singapore. People with low levels of the gene were at greater risk of obesity than people with high levels of AMY1.There is a consensus in the scientific world that cereals and grains only became staple human diet in the last 10,000 years. On the other hand, we have been eating meat for as long as Homo sapiens have existed, i.e. more than 200,000 years. So it’s not surprising that the human intestine bears a greater resemblance to that of a carnivorous lion than that of a vegetarian chimpanzee.Even though the AMY1 finding is recent, Timothy Noakes highlighted in his book, Challenging Beliefs: Memoirs of a Career, that there are two types of humans—those who can metabolize carbohydrates normally and who are, therefore, carbohydrate-tolerant (CT), and those who lack this capacity and are, therefore, carbohydrate-resistant (CR). If body mass index (weight in kilograms divided by height in centimetres squared) is more than 25, then there is a high probability of a person being CR. The extent of CR can be determined by having your fasting blood glucose, insulin, glucose tolerance test and HbA1c concen-trations measured.In prehistoric times, humans had low levels of AMY1 and were CR. Having fewer AMY1 genes or being CR was a genetic advantage in prehistoric times, when humans were living on a diet which was high in protein and fat content, but low in carbohydrate content. When they did find carbohydrate-rich foods like honey and fruits, they were able to store excess energy derived from these carbohydrates as fat.As the human diet became heavier in starch, the levels of the AMY1 gene increased, and led to people becoming CT.So if someone today has low levels of AMY1, what was once an advantage turns into a disadvantage and exposes him/her to a higher risk of putting on weight. This might only be a theory, but it’s a plausible one.Among CR people, besides low levels of AMY1, there is a perpetual state of elevated blood glucose concentrations when they eat a carbohydrate-heavy diet. To check this, there is excessive secretion of insulin. But insulin is unable to drive glucose in the bloodstream into the liver and muscle cells. Instead, it moves that glucose into fat cells. It’s important to clarify that these “fat” cells have nothing to do with the “fat” in diet. Persistently high insulin levels further prevent the release of stored fat from fat cells. It might surprise most that increased carbohydrate intake also changes blood fat (cholesterol and triglyceride) concentration to one that favours the development of heart diseases.In people with low levels of AMY1, or CR, consumption of food items made from flour (roti, bread, pasta, biscuits) raises the chances of obesity. Consume these items in small amounts.Though I am an advocate of exercise and increased physical activity, I realize just working out is not enough to prevent obesity in CR-type people who eat a high-carbohydrate diet.So, if high carbohydrate levels are the main trigger of this domino effect in CR people, what is the solution? A diet low in carbohydrate content.When CR people eat a diet low in carbohydrate but higher in fat and protein content, it reduces their chances of gaining weight and improves their chances of staving off diabetes.Not all starch is bad. The starch that is digested slowly is much better. Beans, lentils, brown rice, barley and amaranth work well.The point is not to eat less, but eat smart and keep moving.Rajat Chauhan is an ultra marathon runner and a doctor specializing in sports and exercise medicine and musculoskeletal medicine, and founder of Back 2 Fitness. He is also associate editor, British Journal of Sports Medicine.This article was originally published here.

Orthopaedic Problems and Relation With Obesity

Dr. G K Sudhakar Reddy, Orthopedist
Obesity or being overweight is now recognised as a serious cause of ill health. Obesity is associated with significant orthopaedic problems and losing weight was found to have positive effects on relief of symptoms from all these conditions.   1. Osteoarthritis  - in Knee, hip and hand joints 2. Osteoporosis   3. Low Back Pain   4. Tendonitis  5. Nerve compressions  6. Trochanteric Bursitis   7. Plantar Fasciitis   8. Gout  9. Fibromyalgia  Osteoarthritis   Osteoarthritis is a common disabling condition which affects normal daily life activities which is caused by obesity. Other lifestyle factors are also associated with osteoarthritis like level of joint activity, lack of exercise, muscle weakness, and joint injury. Of these muscle weakness is common in obesity. Obesity triggers osteoarthritis by transmitting excess weight on the weight bearing joints like the knee and the hip.   Knee Osteoarthritis  Knee Osteoarthritis is caused due to the excessive weight burden on the knees in an obese and overweight person. This is the most common arthritis especially, in the Indian subcontinent.    While walking an individual exerts 3 to 6 times pressure that of the body weight on the weight-bearing knee joint, which means in an obese with excess body weight, larger forces are exerted, which lead to higher risk of deterioration of cartilage.    In addition, there are excessive fat tissues that produce hormones and other factors that affect the joint lining and cause inflammation of the joints giving rise to joint pathology.   Hip osteoarthritis  The force transmitted across the hip is 3 times that of body weight. Hip osteoarthritis is caused by factors such as joint injury, increasing age and being overweight.      Hand osteoarthritis   Obese people also have a higher risk in having hand osteoarthritis due to the metabolic effect produced by fat tissue.   Osteoporosis   Osteoporosis is a progressive bone condition that is characterised by a decrease in bone mass and density, reduced Bone Mineral Density (BMD) which can lead to an increased risk of fracture. Recent research suggests that obesity may accelerate bone loss. It is the amount of muscle mass which is seen in an active person, which accounts for bone strengthening effects and not due to the fat seen in a heavy person.    Low back pain   Low back pain from degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine is one of the most disabling conditions in the community and overweight and obesity have the strongest association with seeking care for low back pain.   Other conditions   Obesity is a also a risk factor for:   * Upper extremity tendonitis (inflammation of tendons) causing pain in shoulder, elbow, wrist  * Nerve compressions in wrist and elbow causing painful hand symptoms and weakness.   * Plantar fasciitis which is a common cause for heel pain.  * Trochanteric bursitis, causes frequent lateral hip pain in elderly and middle-aged individuals.   * Gout which is characterised by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. It is formed by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals and can also present as kidney stones, soft tissue lumps.  * Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder resulting in pain, disturbed sleep and altered mood. 

Why Exercise for Weight Loss, Instead of Only Dieting?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The two important tools for weight loss are diet and exercise. But, here the question arises - Is weight loss possible only with any of the tool i.e. diet or exercise? The answer is - No. Because diet and exercise go hand in hand. Although people often focus on diet when they're trying to lose weight, but being active is an essential component of a weight loss program. Exercise helps in detoxing & cleansing your system while helping you melt the unwanted fat from your body. People who exercise & diet to lose weight tend to get a flat belly faster than those who just diet.How Weight Loss WorksThe mechanism of weight loss is simple. It is based on a concept called - energy balance. When you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. Therefore, to lose weight you need to burn more calories and/or consume fewer calories. The combination of both of these methods is the best way to lose weight and improve your health.Let’s talk about the benefits of exercises -Research shows that, in addition to helping to control weight, regular physical activity can reduce your risk for several diseases & conditions and improve your overall quality of life. Regular exercise can help prevent -Heart disease and stroke - Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your HDL ("good" cholesterol), and lowering LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working capacity.High blood pressure - Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure (hypertension).Diabetes - By reducing body fat, physical activity can help to prevent and control type 2 diabetes.Back pain - By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise can prevent back pain.Osteoporosis - Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.Regular physical activity can also improve mood and the way you feel about yourself. Exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress. It is a natural and inexpensive anti-depressant.Regular exercise is not only important for weight loss but it is by far the most effective tool to  maintain the weight loss in the long run.

Body Odour (BO)? Prevent It!

Dr. Pradnya Shastri, Dermatologist
Here is a joke:“It was a really hot day at the office. There were about twenty people in close quarters and everyone was sweating, even with a fan on.All of a sudden, people started to wrinkle their noses at an odour passing through the air. It was the most hideous smell anyone had ever smelt.One man said, "Uh oh, someone's deodorant isn't working."Mr B. O. Smellywelly from the distant corner replied, "It can't be me. I'm not wearing any."Haha!... No? Not funny right?Yeah, I know it’s offensive towards people with body odour. But there is a reason why I started off with this joke! To let you know that there is hope for all those people who are the butt of all such jokes!Here are a few things that you should know about body odour also called as Bromhidrosis or BO:TYPES AND CAUSES Before I go ahead, let me give you a little background. There are multiple glands in the body. Of which those associated with odour are the apocrine glands (found in armpits, breast, pubic area and groins) and eccrine glands (pretty much all over the body). It is the overactivity of these glands that is responsible for bad odour. Let’s see what are the causes of each type of bromhidrosis:Eccrine bromhidrosisCommon cause of Body Odour and occurs at any age.Possibly caused by ingestion of certain foods like garlic, onions, radishes,  broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, meats and alcohol (remember how you smell after an episode of binge drinking !)Can also be caused by medications like penicillins, bromides etcWhen there is excessive sweating, the keratin ( a substance which is a part of the skin) gets macerated. The bacteria present in the armpit act on this degraded keratin and a foul odour emanates.May be rarely caused by metabolic disorders, e.g. amino acid disturbances (trimethylaminuria  [fish odour syndrome])Apocrine bromhidrosisThis is genetic and occurs after pubertyAxillary bacterial florae have been shown to produce the offensively smelling short chain fatty acids and certain amino acids.Commonly seen infection called Erythrasma caused by Cornybacterium is associated with apocrine bromhidrosisHOW TO PREVENT BO?Take a shower everyday! Sprinkle powder periodically through out the day (talc free is possible) to ensure that the sweat is absorbed. Sounds complicated? It isn’t. Just try it out once. You could carry a small bottle of powder in your backpack or purse.An antimicrobial soap helps. And by that I don’t mean the usual ‘raksha karne wale’ or ‘ kitanu ko marne wale’ soaps. I am talking about medicated and prescribed soaps. As far as the use of such soaps is concerned one should always take advise from  a dermatologist. As shown in commercials, you don’t really need an anti bacterial/ anti microbial soap for daily use. It is a myth that you need it everyday! When you use such soaps everyday you are not only killing the harmful bacteria (which I agree to) but are also killing the necessary and helpful bacteria! That means that you are actually making yourselves more prone to infections in the long run. Which is why I prescribe such soaps only to people complaining of BO.Wearing cotton clothes really helps. Synthetic clothes tend to aggravate body odour. Changing your clothes twice a day isn’t a bad option either. People complaint to me saying that their mornings are fresh and by the time evening sets in they themselves can’t tolerate their own body odour. I say, keep a change of shirt or kurta in your office. That helps in  controlling the bacterial overgrowth.Use a good quality perfume on your clothes rather than  deodorant on your skin. The fragrance lasts longer (since it doesn’t get washed off by the sweat) and because the chemicals are sprayed on the clothes, there won’t be leeching of the deodorant chemicals in your skin either thus preventing any possibilities of developing irritant or allergic dermatitis.Regular shaving of axillary hair also helps keeping the bacterial growth in check. It is an option for all you women out there as well! It’s a myth that the hair will grow back thicker if you use a razor. Yes, it’s a myth! So shave the hair off without fear!Cutting down on foods like onions, garlic etc. and alcohol! Despite all these, you might need to take an extra effort and visit a dermatologist. Like I mentioned, there are certain bacterial infections that can aggravate body odour. And a proper treatment with oral antibiotics and application of antibiotic creams is needed. In certain unremitting cases, there are procedures like botulinum toxin injections or even sympathectomy which can be done. But all these are treatments aren’t simple and need to be discussed with your dermatologist.So what are you waiting for? Try out these simple measures!! As they say, "Stay calm and smell good!"Haha!... no? Not funny?Let me sign off for now!