How To Be Healthy: In Numbers

From the size of your waist to a cholesterol reading - your state of health is reflected in numbers...

From the size of your wast to a cholesterol reading – your state of health is reflected in numbers. Patsy Westcott asks experts how to change the vital statistics that add up to wellbeing.

Never has our life been so ruled by numbers, but while your multitude if pins, passwords and personal contacts are important, the real vital statistics are those that tell the story your health. From the level of your blood sugar to your waist circumference and much more, these critical figures all dictate how you feel and function – and give warning when your health may be at risk. The good news is that if the figures don’t add up, small and achievable lifestyle tweaks, such as a change in diet, exercise, drinking and smoking habits, can have a big impact on your health numbers and risk of disease.

Whittle down your waist

31.5 inches (80cm) or less is the ideal waist measurement. Higher than this shows a raised risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What it means: The amount of fat stored around your organs (visceral fat) is thought to be especially harmful, says diabetes nurse Libby Dowling of Diabetes UK. This is because it may trigger inflammatory chemicals and/or cause changes in metabolism that lead to insulin resistance. For women, a waist of more than 34.5in (88cm) multiples risk of diabetes threefold, according to a 2014 Public Health England report.  

How to change your measurements: Cut carbs – One study showed this reduced belly fat and increased insulin sensitivity in women at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Twelve weeks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) helped a group of inactive women under 50 reduce their waists by almost 11/3in (3.5cm).

Pick Protein:
Especially meat, which helped reduce the waist size in one study. Vegetarian? More milk, yogurt and cheese also equated to a slimmer waist.

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