As a certified health and fitness professional, the way in which health and fitness is promoted and marketed on platforms like #instragram really concerns me. Frankly I am alarmed by the number of 30-day or 90-day challenges, the fad diets, the $2 nutrition plans and the pop culture advice, which ultimately leads you down a path to some online subscription or service. Even though healthy living has become increasingly popular, over the past two decades, isn’t it counter intuitive that obesity and chronic diseases are also on the rise? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “in 2016, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over (39% of men and 40% of women) were overweight. Overall, about 13% of the world's adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2016. The WHO says the worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016. In short, 52% of the world’ population is overweight and obese and people are desperately looking for solutions. The primary concern that I have is that many of these people are possibly suffering with Metabolic Syndrome (MS). Online quick fixes will not help people with MS. On the contrary a one-size-fit-all approach could be harmful to a person’s health, put a person a greater risk, and possibly set them up for long term failure. So what is Metabolic Syndrome? Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Central, visceral, abdominal obesity, specifically, a waist size of more than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women
Fasting blood glucose levels of 100 mg/dL or above
Blood pressure of 130/85 mm/Hg or above
Blood triglycerides levels of 150 mg/dL or higher
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels of 40 mg/dL or less for men and 50 mg/dL or less for women
In the US, nearly a quarter of all Americans and some 44% of people over the age 50 suffer with MS. The statistics are staggering as they are alarming.
The reality is that MS in some cases can be reversed, however success is primarily dependent on an individuals risk factors and symptoms, where treatment could include any combination of lifestyle changes, environmental factors, medications and nutrition.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: MS SUFFERERS WILL HAVE A HARDER TIME LOSING WEIGHT due to physiological reasons, like for example, higher levels of insulin which more easily convert and store fat.
No 90-day challenge is going to fix the problem. Even if a short-term program leads to some progress, the real challenge lies in sustaining good physical and eating habits.
Over the past few months I have been working with MS sufferers and I can assure you that they present many challenges that most fitness professionals are simply not experienced or qualified to deal with.
So, my appeal to you is: if you are trying to get into shape, please visit your doctor and have him/her screen you for MS. Once you are on the right medical treatment and you want to change your lifestyle sustainably, get in touch with me.
photo credit: @jameskewfitness