Being unfit is just as bad as diabetes in terms of being at risk of cardiovascular disease

The phrase, “I’ll exercise tomorrow,” is probably one of the many promises that we hardly keep. Mostly, due to our busy schedules, we opt for munching on our comfort foods than jogging or hitting the gym to relieve our stress. This scenario often leads to a person becoming unfit which leads to certain health risks.

Although a lot of research has been done to prove the correlation between being unfit and the risk of developing illnesses, particularly cardiovascular diseases, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that men who are over the normal weight limit are more likely to suffer death from cardiovascular diseases.

The aim of the group was to quantify the association between physical inactivity and death and to quantify the associations between physical inactivity and other risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension. (Related: Prevent, and even reverse, cardiovascular disease with pomegranate – it cleans your arteries.)

There were 25,714 men involved in the research. Their average age was 43.8 years and all were part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, that is, a U.S. study of patients who went through a preventive medicine clinic for check-ups. Medical examinations were done on the participants from the year 1970 to 1993, with follow-up until 1994.

Added factors such as demographics, personal and family health history, and health habits – including smoking and doing physical activity – were all considered in the study by giving out questionnaires to the subjects. Measurements of height, weight, blood pressure, lipid, and fasting plasma glucose levels were also included.

To get more accurate findings, the team categorized the participants as normal weight if their body mass index was 18.5 to 24.9 kilogram per square meter (kg/m2), overweight for those with body mass index of 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2, and obese for subjects whose body mass index is at 30.0 kg/m2.

Furthermore, the team of scientists checked whether the participants are suffering from either cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, high serum cholesterol level, hypertension, low cardiorespiratory fitness, and current smoking.

According to the results, 41 percent of the group were under the normal weight category and among 367 deaths, 126 were caused by cardiovascular disease. Forty-six percent were categorized as overweight and 237 cardiovascular diseases-caused deaths were reported among 500. As for the obese group which was 13 percent of the participants, 158 died, 76 from cardiovascular disease.

It was also observed that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease grow as the body mass index of a person increases. Moreover, findings suggested that as compared to men with normal weight, those who were overweight and obese were more likely to smoke, have less physical activity, record higher blood pressure and raised cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Meanwhile, the same goes for the other risk factors or conditions. “The strongest predictor of death was cardiovascular disease. Overweight men with any of the other risk factors were approximately three to four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and twice as likely to die from all-causes than normal-weight men without the condition. Obese men with any of the other risk factors were approximately five times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and three times more likely to die from all-causes than normal-weight men without the condition.”

In conclusion, cardiovascular disease is the top predictor of death regardless of a person’s body mass index. More importantly, it was proven that being physically unfit is at the same level as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and smoking as a predictor of mortality.

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