A Big Fat Abdomen Is a Quicker Way To God
First, to CT Suresh, a Bible student from Imphal, who wrote to me on October 15 2013: “Dear Brother Dr Singh, I enjoy reading your articles every Sunday from The Sangai Express, and I am immensely benefited from it with many insights. But one thing worries me when you said, ‘My search for God is ended,’ and have chosen to be an atheist.”
Dear Suresh, Thank you for your very erudite raconteur about the existence of God, quoting Corinthians in the Bible. I have searched for God for five years and nowhere was God to be found (cf. author’s book, My Search for God). My time is now short. I have better things to do. I am now waiting for God to search for and find me. That’s why I am an agnostic and not an atheist.
Coming down to Earth from the heavenly God to the mundane “mid-bulge” or ‘big fat abdomen’ is for a scientific search for good health. Having too large a trouser size can dramatically shorten your lifespan and hurry you to meet your maker. Recent researchers in Britain, have come with this marvellously simple dictum: ‘keep your waistline down to half your height and delay your way to God.’
‘A place for everything and everything in time’ – are good uplifting homilies as disaster survival guides. Father Ian Weathrall (1922-2013), a Scot, died on April 30 1013 in Delhi. He was the last British missionary to Northern India, belonging to Delhi Brotherhood of Ascension in Old Delhi. During the 1970’s when suspicious India banned any more foreign missionaries from coming to reside in India, he knew the disaster survival guide.
He was willing to adapt his doctrine to India, whose pluralism taught him that the saying in St John’s Gospel “I am the way, the truth and the life” did not mean that Christianity was the only way to God. He realised that ‘comfort belief’ is not without danger.
The moral is ‘comfort eating’ is not without danger. A recent Dutch study at Maastricht University, has shown that comfort eaters consumed more food. Recent British research has also shown that 24 percent of men and 26 percent of women in Britain are classed as obese as they are comfort eaters ie they binge when they are happy.
Overweight is a common condition in which a person’s weight is above a weight that is considered normal – that is more than 10 percent of the ideal weight. Obesity (see below) is a medical condition as the accumulated excess fat has an adverse effect on health. Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart diseases, middle age diabetes, sleep apnoea (people just fall off to sleep due to lack of oxygen because of poor breathing due to excess fat in the body), wear and tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) of kneed and hips, and certain types of cancer, especially bowel cancers.
The World Cancer Research Fund is encouraging people to reduce their daily intake of food by 100 calories. It says, 18 percent of cancer cases in Britain were linked to being overweight. Obesity also causes mechanical death, such as being run over by vehicles, as they can’t move fast enough.
Obesity is defined as when your body mass index (BMI) – a measurement obtained by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres, exceeds 39kg/m2. Example: my weight is 82.6 kg and my height is 1.7 m. Divide 82.6 by the sq of 1.7 (2.89), which is 27kg/m2. So I am not obese.
In Britain, keeping records of BMI by doctors is mandatory for every patient to keep an eye on the person’s health. For children, BMI records their growth rate and future ill health.
BMI calculations are easily done in a couple of minutes by using a BMI calculator. Another easier and more accurate method of measuring body fat is with a ‘skinfold calliper’.
Measuring someone’s waist to height ratio is a better way of predicting life expectancy than calculating BMI.
Men with the highest waist to height ratio, whose waistlines measured 80 percent of their height, lived 17 years fewer than average. This means a 1.8m (6ft) tall man should have a waistline smaller than 92cm (36in), while a 1,62m (5ft 4in) tall woman should have a waistline no larger than 81.2cm (32in).
According to a research taking 20 years, Dr Margaret Ashwell et all from Oxford Brookes University, were able to calculate how many years of life were lost as waistlines increased.
She said: “measuring someone’s waistline is important because it accounts for levels of central fat that accumulates around the vital internal organs and is particularly closely linkedto conditions such as stroke [bleeding or clotting of blood in the brain] and heart disease [heart attack or heart failure].
If you are measuring waist-to-height ratio you are getting a much earlier prediction that something is going wrong, and you can do something about it.” Children as young as five could be screened using waist-to-height ratio to identify those at greatest risk of obesity and serious health conditions later in life, it was claimed.
A man of 30 with a waist to height ratio of 0.8, representing about one in 5000 men, stood to lose 16.7 years of life due to their size. A 50 year old woman with the same ratio, accounting to about one in 150 women of the same age, would lose 8.2 years of life .
There are many debates about the causes ofobesity. In general, eating more food and less physical work most often causes overweight and obesity, apart from eating junk food (a high-calorie food but low in nutritional value) such as McDonalds, fried potato chips.
Evidence to support the view that some obese people eat little yet gain weight due to a slow metabolism is limited. On average obese people have greater energy expenditure than their thin counterparts due to the energy required to maintain an increased body mass, like walking or swimming.
Food is the main cause of obesity. I do not see an overweight person in starving Ethiopia, while obesity is the main cause of ill health in the West where the supermarkets are stocked with all kinds of food of every season available everyday, as they are locally grown and imported from all over the world. For instance: you can eat a mango or a pineapple everyday.
British people are now on average 19 kg (3st) heavier than 50 years ago during World War II when food was rationed. Second generation Indian and Pakistani young men are 2 inches taller and bigger than their fathers. My son is 2 inches taller and bigger than me. This wouldn’t have happened if he had been born and brought up in Manipur. In India, Punjabis are bigger and taller as their food is nutritious.
Obesity specialist Prof Bell of Imperial College in London, sums up: “We’re being bombarded everyday by the food industry like Tescos to consuming more and more food. As a scientist I feel really depressed, because we are losing war against obesity.”
On May 17 2013, Prof Nestle in the Department of Nutrition at New York University said: “One of the biggest changes in our modern diet stems back to 1970s when US agriculture embarked on mass production of corn and of high-fructose corn syrup, commonly used as a sweetener in processed foods, such as cereals and cheap biscuits.”
The specific causes of abdominal obesity apart from a genetic link is still unknown but one factor that is known is late night eating and going to bed immediately as it is in my case. There should be at least two hours between the evening meal and going to bed. The abdominal bulge is often increased by intestinal bloating due to indigestion.
In the early 1990s, computerised tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scans have shown that the fat at the abdominal level spreads inside the abdomen. The recent theory is that the excess fat inside the abdomen is located around important organs like heart, pancreas, liver and kidney.
Body fat produces fatty acids that are “good fats” like Omega 3 in the fish and Omega 6 in the meat, but abdominal fat produces harmful fatty acids that are absorbed directly into small blood vessel in the fatty tissue. These accumulate in the liver and other organs, causing diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
Manipuris are lucky in that we are not genetically disposed to central obesity. All the same, stroke, heart attack and diabetes are very common. We need to do some research to find the cause.