By Dr Nay Myo Oo
Whenever I visit my parents in Yangon, I have had a chance of treating patients; some are about 40-50 years of age, married with good profession and doing well in their respective businesses. They said they were slim and energetic in their young days; as they are now successful in business, their lifestyles have changed, making them less active and pot-bellied.
Once you have a lot of money, good food is followed by bad habits of smoking and drinking. Besides, once you are over 35 years of age, the physiology of your body has gradually slowed down, thereby making the fats from food intake accumulate near around the stomach. The accumulated fat in the stomach are different from those in the limbs; the former ones are known as visceral fat which make your belly jut out. If a Myanmar person of 70 kilograms is compared to an English person of the same weight, the former has 30% of visceral fat, whereas the latter has 20%. Why has this happened? It is an interesting comparison of consumption between Myanmar and English: the former eats a lot of rice with curry and vegetables, whereas the latter eats one or two slices of bread and a lot of meat, fish and vegetables.
Myanmar, Chinese and Indians eat a lot of rice which contains 80%starch, whereas the English people eat a slice of bread with a lot of vegetables, cheese, meat and fish. Rice, of course, encourages to form fats which transform into visceral fat during slow physiological functions of one’s body. According to recent findings more visceral fats will make less consumption of sugar, thus leading to cause some kinds of diseases, e.g. diabetes. These visceral fats secrete dangerous and toxic hormones which could cause several diseases, such as hypertension, heart disease, paralytic stroke and kidney disease.
When we were young, we went to an obituary to console grief-stricken relatives of a 40-year-old man who died of heart attack or a paralytic stroke. I have to admit I didn’t know the cause of these diseases when I was young. Now I come to realize that Myanmar of 30-40 years of age happen to suffer from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and kidney failure not because of bad luck but due to their pot bellies.
Therefore, when you are nearing 30 or 40 years of age, you will have to avoid the following:
1. Stop smoking
2. Take up some kinds of physical activities
3. Reduce your alcohol intake
4. Eat food with less salt
5. Eat less food for dinner
6. You should consult with a physician at least once a year whether there is cholesterol in the blood, diabetes or hypertension.
Very strong stomach muscles, popularly known as six-pack, are there in your belly; but you must try not to be swollen-bellied in order to live a normal lifespan with your loving family.
Translated by Arakan Sein