Several months ago, seven government officials in Japan’s Ise chose to guide their constituents by example. They began a “samurai” diet, designed to target obesity, cholesterol, blood pressure and inactivity. Throughout the process, they met with setbacks, discouragement and even health crises, but they continued working and finally found success. The mayor alone lost 12 pounds, reducing his waist circumference to 33 inches, well within the advised range. He and his fellow dieters became a source of inspiration, alerting their fellow citizens of an affliction, metabolic syndrome, that affects millions throughout the world. The city now knows that it is possible to fight this syndrome. Why don’t you join them in their awareness?
An estimated 50 million Americans have metabolic syndrome, a condition defined by having three or more of the following: abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, glucose intolerance, elevated blood pressure, low good/high bad cholesterol, prothrombotic state or proinflammatory state. When the condition is present, the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other conditions related to plaque buildup increases, more so than when you have just one of the above symptoms. Metabolic syndrome also significantly heightens the likelihood of developing coronary artery disease and kidney stones (those with metabolic syndrome often have highly acidic urine, leading to uric-acid kidney stones). These dangers are very real, and if diagnosed with it, you must take the steps necessary to combat it.
That means not focusing on individual disorders. Yes, take your blood pressure medication and continue to slim your waist, but don’t develop tunnel vision. You have more than one affliction. You must work to correct all of them. The best way to do this is to make life-long, healthy choices. Stop smoking. Lose weight, until you reach a healthy, desirable amount. Increase your activity. If you’re largely sedentary, try for at LEAST 30 minutes a day of moderate to intense exercise. And, develop healthy eating habits. Avoid trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Turn your life into a nutritional beacon. Become the role models Ise’s government officials now are. If they can beat metabolic syndrome, so can you.
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