According to newly published research from the University of Melbourne in Australia, patients who lower their waist-to-hip ratio (particularly if those patients are obese) can decrease their odds of developing age-related macular degeneration. This is the first study to examine how changes in the waist-to-hip ratio, weight, and body mass index impact the risk of age-related macular degeneration (also known as AMD).
Waist-to-hip ratio is connected to apple-shaped weight gain. As we discussed in the December 2nd Pulse of Health Freedom, carrying one’s weight around the middle is linked to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, or Syndrome X, is best defined as the following:
• Waist-to-hip ratio increases, i.e. one’s waistline is larger than one’s hips
• Insulin resistance, as measured by a fasting blood insulin level
• High total cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• In women, polycystic ovarian syndrome
• In men, male pattern baldness
• Fatty liver
• AMD and perhaps more aging-related eye diseases
Cataracts and AMD were often termed as aging-related diseases of the eyes. Research on nutrition and the eyes revealed that poor circulation and heart disease were often linked to cataracts and AMD. As arteries stiffen and narrow and levels of free radicals increase in the body, vision is often impaired. Addressing circulation by losing weight, exercising, and eating a diet rich in antioxidants has the side effect of improving eyesight. And studies of type II diabetics indicate that controlling blood sugar makes an even more dramatic improvement in eyesight.
Scientists found that people at high risk of developing advanced stages of AMD, a leading cause of vision loss, lowered their risk by about 25 percent when treated with a high-dose combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc.
While losing weight around one’s middle could reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the larger message is that the Western lifestyle is what is creating that expanding waistline and all those related symptoms of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and the acceleration of age-related vision conditions. Government health reform must address the root causes of disease, not the symptoms. Treating high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or even AMD directly will never cure the disease.
This is only one reason to support the Wellness Doctrine. As the 9/23/08 issue of Pulse in Health Freedom indicated, the Board of Directors of AAHF voted to support a key resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that would include “sustainable wellness programs that address the underlying causal factors of chronic disease” in an effort to re-engineer our healthcare reform. H.Con.Res. 406 has detailed language to change the debate in a system where up to 50% of the dollars that fund our current healthcare system come from government sources. Continuing to pay to treat symptoms only is a healthcare strategy that is financially unsupportable