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Study Links Obesity To Lower Metabolism And Weak Hearts



Evidence about the negative health effects caused by obesity keep on coming. According to a study published in Obesity, obese people with lower than predicted resting metabolic rate (RMR) have lower cardiorespiratory fitness than people with faster metabolisms. The results of the study place a greater emphasis on the potentially deadly consequences of obesity, a disease that affects one third of American citizens.

Scientists selected 64 obese individuals for an experiment designed to evaluate links between RMR and cardiovascular fitness in obese people. The majority of the patients were in their late forties and had mean body mass index (BMI) 47.2 kg/m2.

Scientific investigators assessed participants' RMR and cardiorespiratory fitness through a variety of methods which included measurement of oxygen consumption, and the amount of carbon dioxide produced during exercise and the resting state.

The majority of the participants had RMR that exceeded the predicted values of a mathematical equation commonly accepted by the health science profession that is used to assess an individual's basal metabolic rate and daily dietary requirments.

However, there were patients who had lower than predicted RMR values. People in this group reportedly had BMI 52.9 kg/m2. Moreover they performed poorly on cardiorespiratory assessments, requiring more effort and oxygen uptake during cardiopulmonary exercises. Essentially this means they had more difficulty breathing and pumping blood during exercises than participants with lower BMI.

Chief investigator Wendy M. Miller and her colleagues concluded: "... [M]orbid obesity may be a vicious cycle of increasing BMI, reduced respiratory fitness, muscle deconditioning and lower RMR."

What she meant was obesity effects many aspects of an individual's health, causing respiratory problems, muscle weakness, weight gain and slowed metabolism. Even worse, the effects are cumulative i.e. become worse over time. In fact Miller said as much when she wrote: "Collectively, these responses may, over time, exacerbate the imbalance between energy uptake and energy expenditure, resulting in progressive increases in body weight and fat stores."

The reason why Miller's team called the problem a "vicious cycle" stems from the observation that obesity slows down the metabolism. Your body is never truly at rest. Respiration and pumping of blood are only two of the many activities that take place within your body even while you happen to be sleeping or sitting on the sofa.

Fat is a relatively quiet tissue, it produces chemicals but one of its primary jobs is to store unused energy from the foods that we've eaten.

Muscle tissue, on the other hand, is very active. Muscle tissue contracts and relaxes, and is in constant catabolism and repair; these activities require a considerable amount of energy. 

But obese people tend to be sedentary, i.e. nonactive. Without physical exercise their bodies continue to store fat instead of using it for energy, without physical exercise the muscle will wear down i.e. atrophy or to use Miller's term become "deconditioned". This in turn will cause the metabolism to slow even more leading to less energy expenditure and further accumulation of body fat.  


What Can Be Done To Increase The Body's Resting Metabolic Rate?

Obesity is commonly the end result of the body storing more energy than it uses up. Think of a person who puts most of his money in the bank in preparation for a rainy day. This person saves much more than he spends. Eventually he'll have a tidy sum saved up but if he fails to spend the money it won't have done him any good.

The human body was designed to survive, thus we evolved a system that collects unused energy and stores it away in preparation for a time when there may not be anything to eat. This system comes in handy for people existing in places of food scarcity. In those cases such people don't become fat because with so little food available, their body catabolizes its own tissues for food.

The reason why people who reside in areas where they have access to lots of food will gain weight if they overeat is because the human body is hardwired to save up for a rainy day that may never come.

There is a way to offset this hardwired mechanism: burn more calories than your body stores away. Some folks might take this to mean starvation diet, but as I pointed out a few moments ago, a starved body will break down its own body for food. 

A safer method is to combine regular physical exercise with a balanced diet. This allows your body to get the nutrients it needs while preventing the accumulation of unnecessary body fat.

That's where professional helps comes in. Setting up an appointment with a health care professional can help a person set up a nutrition and exercise program that will help them to safely lose weight and improve their overall health.


“Put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets [i.e., His Word] and succeed.”(2 Chron 20:20)

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Article Source 

Miller, W., Spring, T., Zalesin, K., Kaeding, K., Nori Janosz, K., McCullough, P., & Franklin, B. (2011). Lower Than Predicted Resting Metabolic Rate Is Associated With Severely Impaired Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Obese Individuals Obesity, 20 (3), 505-511 DOI: 10.1038/oby.2011.262


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