Maintaining a Healthy Body

In 2011 the main diseases responsible for the highest percentage of deaths within Northern Ireland were cancer, diseases of the circulatory system such as heart disease and strokes and also diseases of the respiratory system such as pneumia. 1 The World Health Organisation call these diseases Non – communicabe diseases (NCD’S) and stated that NCD’S accounted for 63% of deaths worldwide in 2008 and by 2030 they will exceed communicabe diseases to becoming the most common. 2 The World Health Organisation goes on to state that there are 4 major risk factors that account for the rising number of NCD’S.

These factors are an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, misuse of alcohol and tobacco use. The report sets out to explore what governments and health organisations can do to reduce the risks and prevent NCD’S. 2 This assignment is going to look at how these factors affect the body and how with lifestyle changes the individual can reduce and prevent the effects of what World Health Organisation are calling an epidemic. 2 Obesity has been a wide known subject for a number of years. It is estimated 60. 8% of adults in the UK are obese 3 and costing the NHS ?

51 billion a year! 4 So what is obesity? Obesity is classed as having a body mass index (BMI) of more that 30. BMI is measured by weight in kg divided by height in metres. Obesity is caused when the body takes more energy in calories than it needs. When the body has enough energy to function it then starts to store excess calories as fat. 5 Being overweight or obese the body is prone to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, types of cancer, stroke and diabetes type 2. 6 To prevent the body from having excess fat it needs to have a healthy diet.

To have a balanced diet the body needs the right amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre and also plenty of vitamins and minerals. 7 The body needs to eat plenty of the food groups to provide it with the right amount of the above. 8Eating healthy is not about cutting out some of the nutrients the body needs to fight diseases and function properly as some diets would have you believe, it is just eating the right amounts. 9 The eat well plate is a good template on how to give the body the right nutrients it needs. It sets out what food groups the body needs and how much.

10 Studies have shown if that even if the body eats a lot of healthy food the body can still be obese as it’s all about having the right balance. 11 Physical activity is a way the body gets rid of excess energy. Physical activity is commonly known to reduce cholesterol, reduce heart disease, lower the risk of cancers, aid weight loss, and lower blood pressure and improve the quality of life. 6 Scientists have defined energy as the ability to do work. 5 If this is the case how much work does the body need to do in order to stay healthy.

5 Studies have shown that 30-40 minutes of exercise 4-5 times a week is sufficient for the body. 7 If we eat higher energy food such as sugary or fatty foods it will take longer to burn off than if the body were to eat a piece of fruit. 5 This is why diet and physical activity are crucial when maintaining a healthy body. 12 There are lifestyle factors that can undo all the good of diet and physical activity. Alcohol is one of these; alcohol is a toxin to the body. 6 Too much of it can increase the risk of liver disease, high blood pressure, high blood fats, heart failure, stroke and various cancers.

13 A toxin in the body does not need digesting so alcohol goes straight through the blood system for energy and also goes to the liver. The liver detoxifies the alcohol the liver can only detox 1 unit of alcohol per hour. Excess alcohol is sent away to other parts of the body and that’s where the problems arise for the body. 6 Alcohol is measured in units 1 unit is equivalent to 10mls of pure alcohol. The government have advised that men drink 3-4 units which are equivalent to 1? pints and women drink 2-3 units which is equivalent to 175mls of wine regularly. This is a day to day basis.

Alcohol can not be stored up and drank in large quantities. 13 Remember the liver only detoxs 1 unit per hour. The best way to drink alcohol is slowly so the live can keep up never on an empty stomach as food absorbs alcohol. Drink water or soft drinks in between as the will limit alcohol consumed and finally do not mix drinks as they are measured according to alcohol content and size. 6 Another toxin that is bad for the body and puts a strain on the body to remain healthy is tobacco. In fact 7,000 chemicals make up a cigarette many of these are poisonous and 70 of them known to cause cancer.

14 Smoking causes so much damaging effects to the body such as premature aging or discoloured teeth, 15 and is also a major factor in the increase of NCD’s 2. Smoking is one way that plague builds up inside the arteries 14 in return being responsible for 17% of heart disease deaths. 6 Poisons within the cigarette inflame the lining of the lung causing COPD. COPD is were the body slowly dies from lack of air and as already said 70 toxins within tobacco cause cancer 14 in fact it is responsible for 30% of cancer related deaths.

6 Tobacco smoke starts cells on a path towards cancer by repeated irritation DNA damage and it also weakens the immune system to fight cancerous cells. 14 The effects of smoking can be decreased even after 20 minutes of not smoking as blood pressure and rate return to normal. 20 hours after the last cigarette carbon monoxide is removed from the body allowing more energy. It takes 1 year of no smoking to reduce the risk of a heart attack to half that of a non smoker, 10 years to reduce lung cancer and 15 years for the risk of heart attack to be reduced to the same as a non smoker. 6

In conclusion prevention is better in the fight against NCD’S up to 80% of heart disease; stroke, type 2 diabetes and over a third of concerns can be prevented by eliminating the risk factors. 15 World Health Organisation have set out strategies for the governments to reduce NCD’S globally by 25% by 2025. 2 There has been an increase in the promotion of health through local health departments such as the NHS in the last number of years but it is up to the individual to change their lifestyles through diet, exercise, proper use of alcohol and no tobacco these will lower the risk of NCD’s and maintain a healthy body. 2

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